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Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 1995 Apr;21(4):167-77.

Reporting and using health plan performance information in Massachusetts.

Author information

1
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, North Quincy 02171-1794, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In 1993, 27 corporate and government health care purchasers formed the Massachusetts Healthcare Purchaser Group (MHPG). Sixteen health plans submitted 1992 data on six clinical indicators-mental health inpatient days per patient and inpatient readmission, blood pressure screening, prenatal care, mammography screening, cesarean section (C-section) rates, and asthma admission rates-developed in an earlier pilot effort in response to the quality portion of MHPG's "Cost/Quality Challenge."

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Detailed data specifications developed in the pilot to ensure uniform data collection were used, with a requested sample size for chart-reviewed measures of 220. A "clinically significant average range" was defined. Health plan performance was summarized for each indicator in a report released in March 1994. REPORTING OF CLINICAL INDICATOR RESULTS: For the six indicators, each plan had a unique pattern of variation from the average range. For prenatal care, mammography, and hypertension, many plans had opportunities for improvement. SURVEY OF PURCHASERS: Most of the purchasers MHPG surveyed in October 1994 about their assessment and use of the Cost/Quality Challenge Report found it useful. RESPONSES TO THE REPORT: To promote quality improvement activities among health plans, MHPG showed purchasers how to pursue performance issues with health plans, held a Best Practice Forum on C-section, and created a follow-up endeavor, the Coordinated Purchasing Initiative.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:

In spite of potential problems posed by technical deficiencies, costs of data acquisition and quality efforts, and unintended effects of public reporting, purchaser/plan initiatives such as the Cost/Quality Challenge can provide valuable information to purchasers.

PMID:
7780531
DOI:
10.1016/s1070-3241(16)30137-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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