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Ambulatory Performance Measures 'Major Step' in Improving Quality of Health Care: Broad-based Coalition Reaches Consensus on “Starter Set” for Physicians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
The AQA, initially convened by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), consists of a large body of stakeholders that represent clinicians, consumers, purchasers, health plans and others. The mission of the AQA is “to improve health care quality and patient safety through a collaborative process in which key stakeholders agree on a strategy for measuring, reporting and improving performance at the physician level.” A secondary aim of the AQA is to promote uniformity in order to provide consumers and purchasers with consistent information and to reduce the burden on providers.
The uniform starter set comprises prevention measures for cancer screening and vaccinations; measures for chronic conditions including coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, depression, and prenatal care; and, two efficiency measures that address overuse and misuse. Except for the two efficiency metrics, the AQA limited its review to those measures that are currently under review by the National Quality Forum. The starter set represents an initial set of measures that physicians may use to collect the data and report their performance.
The measures in the starter set will lead to a uniform set of measures for ambulatory care that can focus quality efforts and give consumers data they need to make more informed health care decisions. The starter set of measures may be incorporated into performance-based payments as early as next year.
This approach is similar to the Hospital Quality Alliance that has involved a broad array of stakeholders with the goal of producing a standardized set of measures for inpatient care.
Attached is background on the 26 measures proposed for the ambulatory care starter set.
The AQA intends to invite additional provider, purchaser and consumer groups to join the Steering Committee. The AQA calls on employers and health plans to endorse this effort and to utilize the starter set to improve quality of care in the ambulatory setting.
For more information, contact:
Sarah Thomas, American Academy of Family Physicians, 800-274-2237, ext. 5200
Allison Ewing, American College of Physicians, 215-352-2649
Susan Pisano, America’s Health Insurance Plans, 202-778-3245
Karen Migdail, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 301-427-1855.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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