December 10th, 2012
Posted by Caroline Popper, M.D., M.P.H.
In its quest to find ways to reduce healthcare costs but boost healthcare quality, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched its first fellowship program in September. For the next year, I’ll be a technical advisor on the part of this program that focuses on quickly developing ways to measure clinical quality under the new healthcare act.
I’ll be working on a team with Mindy Hangsleben, an innovator in Lean technology at Intel in Portland, Oregon. We’ll be examining the challenge presented by the Affordable Care Act, which aims to move reimbursements from “fee for services” to” fees for performance.” Our questions are: “how do you measure performance? How do you pay for it?” Some aspects of health care delivery are easier to measure; e.g., what percentage of the relevant population gets a mammogram. But basing performance upon a more holistic measure of patient outcomes is tricky because all patients are not equal, and a comparison and ranking of outcomes is not easy. In addition, we’ll be looking at ways to determine the role played by various electronic health records (EHRs) in the capture of these performance parameters, as required under the new Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
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