VOL. 127 | NO. 91 | Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Report Finds Patients Receive Appropriate Care
By Aisling Maki
A new report released by Healthy Memphis Common Table (HMCT) – a nonprofit health care network of more than 200 community partners focused on improving regional health care – found an overall improvement in the percentage of patients receiving recommended health care in Memphis and Shelby County.
HMCT’s new data are available on The Health Care Quality Matters website, www.healthcarequalitymatters.org, providing patients with access to current information about the care they should be receiving and the doctors who are available to provide the recommended care.
“Patients need to be both educated and engaged with their health care,” said Reneé Frazier, HMCT CEO. “We’re excited to provide patients with the information they need to help them get the best health care possible.”
The report focuses on the quality of care Memphis area hospitals and medical practices are providing patients with care for diabetes, heart disease, women’s care and pediatric care.
This year’s report added new measures to women’s and children’s care, as well as new data on heart disease care, including LDL screenings and the use of beta blocker treatment after heart attacks.
Along with performance reports, users can view medical office profiles with each office’s website and contact information, and compare year-over-year data for each office.
This year’s report includes performance information on 139 doctors’ offices, which is a 12 percent increase from 122 practices last year.
The site also includes a secure online portal for participating doctors that allows them to access the reports and compare their performance with those of other physicians.
Healthy Memphis Common Table says the ability to compare performances encourages improvement and allows greater transparency for both doctors and patients.
“When doctors see how well they perform compared to others in the area, they can target areas for improvement,” Frazier said. “When patients have access to reliable information about the kind of care being provided, they can make more informed decisions about where to go for their care. This can help produce better care and healthier patients.”
Dr. Jay Cohen, medical director at The Endocrine Clinic in Memphis, said the online data and quality indicators are valuable tools for encouraging physicians to continue to improve patient care.
“Our patients also win as we work together to improve the health of our Memphis community,” Cohen said.
The website is a valuable patient resource for selecting health care providers, and the quality scores are updated annually with information provided by local health plans.
Since 2009, HMCT has collected and reported quality scores rating the care doctors and hospitals provide. Data has included information such as the numbers of women accessing screenings for breast and cervical cancer and the volume of diabetic patients receiving needed blood tests.
For example, eight out of 10 Tennesseans with diabetes get their blood sugar checked annually, and 46 of the medical offices with scores on the Health Care Quality Matters website were rated among the best in making sure patients received the test.
HMCT is now developing a mobile application to also allow users to access the information from their smartphones.