Population HealthPQRS ReportingQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingRegistry ScienceValue-Based Payment Modifier
January 20, 2015

Avoid PQRS and VBPM Penalties and Achieve Long Term Revenues: How to Choose the Right QCDR

Can you optimize your Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM) quality and cost profile to demonstrate better outcomes than others and avoid both PQRS and VBPM penalties at the same time? Yes: Use a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) to do both. In 2014, the initial year of QCDR reporting, providers had the opportunity to report non-PQRS measures, but still get credit for participating in PQRS. This year, Medicare has provided additional freedom by giving QCDRs the chance to report 30 non-PQRS measures for PQRS, up from last year’s 20. Providers are required to report an additional outcome measure this year (two,…
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Medical Decision-MakingPopulation HealthQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingRegistry ScienceResearch
January 13, 2015

Are “Flat-Line” Outcomes the Kiss of Death? How to Use a Registry for Outcomes Improvement Research

Despite a huge investment in health care, we have yet to demonstrate real progress in improving outcomes. A major study of patient outcomes last year revealed disappointing “flat-line” results for patient-centered medical home services, which means no difference in outcomes over time, regardless of significant expenditures. And that’s just the beginning.  Assessments of cancer outcomes, preventive screenings and chronic disease indicators show similar, disappointing results. It’s hard to accept that we have failed to improve mortality or morbidity in a way that can be attributed to medical management and treatment, rather than to lifestyle and nutrition. In most cases, however, that’s where…
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Population HealthPQRS Reporting
December 9, 2014

How to Energize Your Providers to Measure and Improve Outcomes

It’s no wonder that so many physicians feel threatened by the mention of outcomes measurement. All too often, outcomes are used as a club to punish providers who seem to weaken overall group performance. Or outcomes are packaged and applied in a way that doesn’t provide actionable information—which can seem like a waste of everyone’s time and resources. To engage your providers—and get the real benefit from this form of health care data analysis—try to link your efforts to measure and improve outcomes with an iterative process of inquiry into best practices. Why Outcomes Measurement Can Seem Misleading Measuring patient…
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Population HealthPQRS Reporting
December 2, 2014

No More Blame Game: How to Use Patient Outcomes Measurement to Boost Quality and Provider Performance

Fair or not, if your patients don’t do well, your physicians can be tagged as poorly performing providers. But there are ways to change the dynamic for your organization by effectively using patient outcomes measurement to structure and drive a quality program that benefits both patients and providers. Tracking the health and status of patients—“how patients do”—is the Holy Grail of quality measurement. Despite the fact that it is very difficult to identify a direct cause and effect between provider action and patient outcomes, quality programs are shifting the emphasis to patient outcomes and attributing performance to physicians. This is…
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Population HealthPQRS ReportingValue-Based Payment Modifier
November 18, 2014

PQRS 2015: How Your Practice and Patients Can Benefit from New Population Health Measures

Good news for providers who have criticized PQRS as mundane and want to improve assessment of patient outcomes and reduce gaps in care: Medicare’s PQRS 2015 Rule is shifting away from rewarding fragmented quality services and toward population health. With the expansion of the related Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM), every group can turn population health into higher Medicare revenues, so long as you have strong, patient-centric processes—and data capture. If you don’t, you may suffer penalties. What’s a Cross-Cutting Measure and How Does It Work? CMS has established a set of Cross-Cutting Measures to provide a broader evaluation of care…
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Medical EducationPopulation HealthResearch
October 28, 2014

The Missing Dimension of Residencies That Will Affect Your Program’s Future

Residency programs need to change. I write this as a former family medicine residency program director who spent much of my professional life teaching residents and medical students. Specifically, residency programs need to get on track in the value-based health care world. To fail to do so is to become obsolete. Here‘s the problem: Like most residency programs, our teaching focused on individual patients, in both the office or in the hospital. While we treated specific conditions and used protocols, however, we never evaluated performance of a patient population, particularly over an extended time frame. Quality Measurement is Now Central…
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Population HealthResearch
October 22, 2014

Research Revolution: Why Everyday Medical Decisions Need More Science

How can a physician know when a treatment actually works? Let’s examine the case of outcomes for patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria. In a recent study, patients with the diagnosis were randomized to receive either an antibiotic or a placebo; the outcome measure was the proportion who developed symptomatic bacteriuria. The findings? Both groups had nearly the same proportion of symptomatic bacteriuria at the end of the study. Clearly, the antibiotic made no difference in outcomes. But this can be a hard sell, not only for patients who expect their physicians to “do something,” but also for physicians, who believe that…
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Medical Education
October 15, 2014

Asset or Liability? How Your Residency Programs May Affect Your Competitive Standing

At its core, value-based medicine is all about aligning physician and hospital costs with the quality and effectiveness of care. But all too often, providers ignore the impact of one of their greatest workforce resources: residency programs. In many environments, residents deliver much of the front-line care in hospitals, emergency rooms and in employed primary care practices. But who is measuring your residents’ unique contribution to quality and costs? Can you assess how resident-delivered care affects your bottom line?  And here’s the kicker: Will subsidized medical education continue to be a given in the future, if residency programs fail to…
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Value-Based Payment Modifier
October 8, 2014

The “Avoidable Admissions” Pitfall: What Your Physicians Must Know to Avoid Medicare Penalties

Hospital and physician groups, take note: If you’re admitting patients to hospitals for complications that could have been prevented by better outpatient care, your Medicare revenues are in jeopardy. Under the 2014 Value Based Payment Modifier (VBPM) formula, groups that admit more patients for conditions classified as “avoidable” will risk penalties if their admissions are higher than similar sized groups, and reap rewards if admissions are lower. ACOs have similar reward structures associated with their hospital costs; in 2015, groups participating in ACOs will also bear risk under the VBPM. This is one of the ways that Medicare is instilling…
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