Report: Pay-for-performance has the potential to improve care
Pay-for-performance has the potential to improve the quality of care given to patients — and in some instances save lives — according to a new white paper published by the Premier Inc. healthcare alliance. The paper documents the first year of data from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) project being coordinated in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The project was launched in 2003.

The project evaluates improvement in the quality of care across five high-volume clinical focus areas that are measurable via the 33 national standards and quality indicators, including acute myocardial infarction, isolated coronary artery bypass graft, heart failure, community acquired pneumonia, and hip and knee replacement surgery.

In one case, quality improvements in the care of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients saved approximately 235 lives, according to the white paper.

CMS-validated data from the first year of the HQID demonstrates a significant improvement in the quality of care across five clinical focus areas as measured by 33 nationally standardized and widely accepted quality indicators. Also, the average improvement across the clinical areas was 6.6 percent. 

Over 250 hospitals across 38 states are voluntarily participating in the project which uses Premier's Perspective database, a large clinical comparative database, to track hospitals' performance. The report documents the clinical quality measures, data reporting, key findings and results of the project.

As an incentive, CMS is awarding $8.85 million in Medicare incentives to the top-performing hospitals in the project.

"Results from the first year show significant improvement in the quality of care in all measured clinical areas," said Denise Remus, Ph.D., vice president of Clinical Informatics at Premier. "This evidence provides support for the positive influence of financial incentives on facilitating health care quality improvement."

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