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Physicians Attest to Benefits of Quality Measurement and Improvement Tools

A new DVD, "Putting Quality into Practice: Physicians in Their Own Voices," features the perspectives of physicians who have adopted quality measurement and improvement tools. The doctors speak candidly about why they decided to measure their performance, and how the information empowered them to improve the care they provide to patients.

The Issue: Over the past decade, the practice of quality improvement has advanced rapidly within hospitals and health systems. Evidence suggests, however, that physicians themselves have been resistant to using quality improvement tools, notably lagging in the use of data for self-assessment and improvement. Only a small percentage of doctors are believed to be collecting data to assess their own performance, and even fewer are using data toward quality improvement efforts. Those in small practices--representing the majority of U.S. practitioners--have limited resources available to collect and act on performance data.

Organization: American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation

Target Populations: Physicians and other health care providers

The Intervention: Researchers at the ABIM Foundation identified physicians who are early adopters of quality improvement measurement and improvement tools. Focusing in particular on those working in small or solo practices, they filmed interviews with the physicians to learn about their motivations, strategies, and the results of their efforts.

On the DVD, 39 physicians from across the country describe how the new quality measures have improved patient care and efficiency in their practices. One doctor uses an electronic tracking system to ensure that all of his cardiac patients are taking aspirin; another uses data to address unjustified variation in lung cancer care among his patients. Many of the physicians speak of the professional and personal satisfaction they have gained through the performance measurement and improvement process.

The physicians were identified with the help of 20 organizations, including certifying boards, medical societies, and accreditation organizations.

The DVD is a part of a five-year ABIM initiative, Putting Quality into Practice, aimed at fostering doctors' use of data to improve clinical performance and guiding certifying boards and accreditation organizations in the development of standards for evaluating physicians.

For further information: To order a free copy of the DVD, visit the ABIM Foundation's Web site at Excerpts of the video are also available on the ABIM Web site.

Publication Details

Publication Date: July 17, 2006