Not all quality measures that family physicians face actually improve patient care, lower cost, or deliver outcomes that are important to patients. In some cases, they can cause harm, encourage wasteful overtreatment, distract from meaningful health care interventions, or accelerate burnout.
Here are two ways physicians can respond to inappropriate quality measures:
• Advocate and educate. Discuss inappropriate quality measures and their use with your colleagues, your organization’s leadership, and your local, state, and national medical societies. Look for opportunities to express your views more publicly, such as by writing an opinion piece for a newspaper. Prioritize discussing how quality measures can affect patients, especially in terms of their harms and costs. Acknowledge the need to measure quality but advocate for de-implementing bad measures and for a more methodical, evidence-based approach to developing and implementing good ones. Emphasize the importance of measuring things that matter to patients.
• Control what you can. If you are a leader in your practice, try to influence the selection of measures for which family physicians are accountable. Negotiate based on your understanding of which quality measures are appropriate and meaningful to physicians and patients. You may succeed in having some proposed measures excluded and others designated “for feedback only” and not used to affect compensation.
Read the full FPM article: “Quality Measures: How to Get Them Right.”
Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights," featuring practical, peer-reviewed advice for improving practice, enhancing the patient experience, and developing a rewarding career.