Consumer Reports rate U-M primary care physicians’ performance

April 5, 2016  //  FOUND IN: UMHS News,

This week, Consumer Reports magazine published its first-ever ratings of physician groups. In supplements to the printed magazine mailed to subscribers in eight states, it shares easy-to-understand ratings about how well doctors in each region met quality standards.

For Southeast Michigan, the report focuses on how well primary care doctors in 13 large physician organizations did on helping patients with three key preventive measures.

And U-M’s doctors are called out for high performance on two.

The primary care physicians of the U-M Medical Group – formerly known as the U-M Faculty Group Practice – scored higher than nearly all their peers on both adult colorectal cancer screening and diabetes care.

On a third measure, helping patients with heart disease control high cholesterol by prescribing “statin” medication, they received the second-highest rating.

Regional data online

The new ratings are based on 2013 and 2014 data from the Greater Detroit Area Health Council. That’s a nonprofit effort that collects and analyzes anonymous information from four major private insurers about the patients of participating physician groups in seven counties.

While the Consumer Reports ratings are only accessible to subscribers, much more data on U-M primary care physician performance is available on GDAHC’s website, http://mycarecompare.org/ .

There, anyone can look up a U-M primary care physician by name or group, and see how well the entire U-M primary care community did as a whole on 18 different quality measures for adults and children. Information for individual physicians is not available..

See the full report from GDAHC about the UMMG’s performance here

See the list of U-M physicians whose performance is included.

Consumer Reports praises the GDAHC effort, saying “Michigan doctors are taking some important steps in measuring and reporting their performance, though their efforts are still in the early stages.”

Grant Greenberg, M.D., M.H.S.A., M.A., who is the U-M Medical Group’s liaison to GDAHC’s Measurement and Reporting group, says that the decade-long effort to share data about physician performance in Southeast Michigan “calls attention to the need to improve and has succeeded in resulting in improvement. We have physician organizations that may be competitors for market share working together to help the people of Southeast Michigan.”

Greenberg notes that UMHS has internal systems in place to collect, analyze and share data on physician performance at the individual and clinic level for many different measures of care. He’s the UMMG’s  Medical Director for Clinical Alignment and Performance Excellence, in addition to his roles as associate chair in the Department of Family Medicine and a primary care physician at the Chelsea Health Center.

Faculty and staff in the primary care areas of UMHS – general internal medicine, family medicine, med/peds, general pediatrics and general obstetrics & gynecology – work together to develop these systems and measures, and to act on the data they provide. This makes it possible to address gaps in care for chronic disease and preventive care for all UMHS patients.

Greenberg credits Steven Bernstein, M.D., MPH, who preceded him as GDAHC liaison and is now associate dean for clinical affairs and Chief Quality Officer for UMHS, with championing many of these efforts.

The GDAHC data and Consumer Reports ratings are based on insurance claims data, not clinical records, which may not give a full record of care as physicians actually provide it. After all, the decision by a patient to get screened for colon cancer stems not just from their doctor’s recommendation but also from their relationship with the doctor when he or she makes that recommendation.

But using what’s available, Greenberg says, patients can get an indication of whether a physician group is providing evidence-based care that can help prevent future issues and avoid unnecessary care. And UMMG is committed to helping GDAHC expand its effort to make primary care quality more transparent in the region.

Note: The Consumer Reports rankings are only in the printed edition of the magazine, but there is also an online feature about access to physicians-specific information. See http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/doctors-and-hospitals/what-you-dont-know-about-your-doctor-could-hurt-you/index.htm

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