The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced the addition of the first quality measures to Physician Compare, a website that helps consumers search for information about hundreds of thousands of physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Patients and their families need facts to help them in making important decisions about healthcare, and choosing the right physician is one of the most important decisions they face, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, RN, BSN, MHA, said in a news release.
In the first year, 66 group practices and 141 accountable care organizations have quality data publicly reported on Physician Compare. The data are reported at the group practice and ACO level.
The quality measures include controlling blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes; controlling blood pressure in patients with diabetes; prescribing aspirin to patients with diabetes and heart disease; patients with diabetes who do not use tobacco; and prescribing medicine to improve the pumping action of the heart in patients who have both heart disease and certain other conditions.
The provider ratings are displayed using stars as a graphical representation of performance on a measure. The actual percentage score also is listed to the right of the star display. CMS chose this system to make the information more usable and easy to scan for consumers.
Physician Compare, created by the Affordable Care Act, already included information about specialties offered by doctors and group practices, board certification and affiliation with hospitals and other healthcare professionals.
This is an important first step in publicly reporting quality measures on Physician Compare, Patrick Conway, MD, chief medical officer and deputy administrator for innovation and quality, said in the news release. Offering a strong set of meaningful quality measures on the site will ultimately help consumers make decisions and it will encourage quality improvement among the clinician community, [which] shares CMSs strong commitment to the best possible patient care.
Physician Compare: www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare