Wisconsin Collaborative for Quality Healthcare

2013 News

Health Affairs article links WCHQ public reporting to improved quality of care

March 4, 2013

Public reporting of how physicians and hospitals perform in quality of care measures leads to improved care for patients. A collaborative team of researchers led by Geoffrey Lamb, MD, professor of internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, published their findings in the March 2013 edition of Health Affairs.

The researchers analyzed 14 publicly reported quality of care measures from 2004 to 2009 for the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and found that physician groups in the collaborative improved their performance during the study period on many measures.

Diabetes-related measures showed the most significant improvement, with three out of the six measures showing double-digit percentage gains. The other three measures showed improvement of two to nine percent. Blood pressure control improved by nine percent as well.

When asked about the public reporting and its effect on care, group practices indicated they were able to act on some, but not all, of the quality measures reported, forcing them to prioritize their efforts. "Our findings show that voluntary reporting of quality measures helps drive improvement for participants, which should lead to better healthcare for our patients," said Dr. Lamb. "Furthermore, these results suggest that large group practices are willing to engage in quality improvement efforts in response to that public reporting."

This article makes an important contribution to building the evidence base that public reporting drives improvement in ambulatory care. Also, the study could not have been completed without the active support and participation of WCHQ members. It is a testament to their commitment to WCHQ that these results are able to be shared with the health services research, health policy, and health care provider communities.

Co-authors of the study are Maureen Smith, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of population health sciences, family medicine and surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; William Weeks, MD, MBA, professor of psychiatry and community and family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University; and Christopher Queram, MA, president and CEO of WCHQ.

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