June 2008 MedBytes: Performance Improvement

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Tex Med. 2008;104(6):64.

Physicians face barriers to putting prevention in the practice. Fortunately, online resources are available to help health care professionals evaluate their practices and implement systems to improve preventive care services.

Texas Medical Association
TMA's  Performance Improvement Resource Center has information on improving quality of care, as well as tools to help physicians reach their performance improvement goals. The association's site also hosts a  Health Information Technology  portion. Read case studies of physicians who have adopted electronic medical records (EMRs), and access resources that help physicians implement EMR systems. You can also learn more about personal health records by reading a white paper on the subject.

American Medical Association
The AMA-convened  Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement features more than 200 physician performance-measure descriptions and specifications for 31 clinical topics and conditions that can be implemented. The consortium aims to develop, test, and maintain evidence-based clinical performance measures and measurement resources for physicians. Consortium members include more than 100 national medical specialty and state medical societies; the Council of Medical Specialty Societies; the American Board of Medical Specialties and its member-boards; experts in methodology and data collection; the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
" A Step-by-Step Guide to Delivering Clinical Preventive Services: A Systems Approach " walks physicians through putting prevention in the practice. The  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides this resource for physicians, nurses, health educators, and office staff members in public health clinics, community health centers, private practices, and other environments. The  Tools & Resources  section of the site also includes the  Pocket Guide to Clinical Preventive ServicesElectronic Preventive Services SelectorAdult Preventive Care Timeline , and  Marketing Tools for Preventive Services . Physicians can also share the pocket guides to good health with their patients.

American Academy of Family Physicians
METRIC: Measuring, Evaluating and Translating Research Into Care is an online practice-improvement program that allows physicians to earn continuing medical education credit while improving patient care. The program helps family physicians fulfill the requirement for Part IV of Maintenance of Certification, an ongoing process of education and assessment for certified physicians to improve performance. Participants can complete modules on asthma, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and geriatrics. Visitors to the Web site can view a brief demonstration of METRIC or walk through the program step by step.

American Board of Internal Medicine
Practice improvement modules  (PIMs) are Web-based self-evaluation tools that guide physicians through chart abstraction, patient survey, and practice system inventory to establish practice performance assessment. The American Board of Internal Medicine offers this tool, which allows physicians to get an idea of the medical care they provide. The interactive report guides physician reflection on detailed performance data, areas for improvement, and creation of an improvement plan with goals and strategies. On the Web site, you can view a  PIM demonstration  for a tutorial of the tool. Physicians who complete a PIM earn 20 continuing medical education credits.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Health care and quality improvement professionals can access the  Medicare Quality Improvement Community  (MedQIC) for quality improvement resources and a community of professionals sharing knowledge and experiences to accelerate progress nationwide. The Web site contains information on beneficiary protection, care coordination, patient safety, prevention, quality improvement methods, and hospice. You can get up-to-date news through the MedQIC newsletter or the communications kit for quality improvement organizations.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mailCrystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.



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