Doctors can measure their effectiveness with EMRs

Doctors can measure their effectiveness with EMRs

Doctors aren’t just keeping track of your health with electronic medical records. Some are charting their own professional performance.

Keeping digital data on patient outcomes allows health care providers to gauge a physician’s effectiveness. One such measure is diabetic patients with controlled blood sugar. Once doctors determine the current percentage of diabetics in the system who fit the profile, administrators can set a higher goal and a strategy to meet it.

Several organizations, including Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, reward doctors who meet quality goals. For example, VA doctors can earn as much as a 7.5-percent bonus every year for excellent performance.

New York City’s Primary Care Information Project, founded in 2007, ranks its 200-some participating practices. “Lower-ranked practices hopefully would be motivated toimprove,” says Dr. Farzad Mostashari, assistant commissioner in the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.

The one group out of the loop is patients, who typically don’t see performance figures. “If our data were made public, then the question is, ‘Compared to what?’” says Dr. Andy Wiesenthal of Kaiser Permanante. “Until there is a reporting scheme for doctors across the country, it’s hard to justify releasing the information.”

Patients see value in having the data, however. “The more information, the better,” says Kaiser Permanente patient Jan Tomilla of Maryland.

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