Posted by: AtlasMD

January 18, 2016

The Virtual Quality Myth. How DPC Changes the Game.


Quality seems good, right? Quality seems the like thing that we’re all after, right? Well, sort of! When it comes to EMRs, we’re on the right track. While the rest of the EMRs are tripping over themselves to comply with government regulations over quality, we’re able to pursue actual quality medicine above all.

It turns out that what has been a speculation for years (that government regulations distort quality by making overtesting and distortion of informed consent and overmedication – to name a few – a regular part of a doctor’s work day), has been proven to be a pervasive and perverse issue in the medical world, according to PLOS Medicine.

Virtual Quality Doesn’t Promote Health

This phenomenon is so common that it has a name — “virtual quality,” and it relates to the fact that applying rigid standards, regulations and “guidelines” might make sense statistically but they don’t actually apply to patients, and these rigid guidelines can actually produce harmful effects on patients. It seems counterproductive because it is. The whole point of guidelines should be to ensure a positive standard of practice, but the reality is that guidelines and PQRS’s actually reduce patient quality. According to Peter C. Cook, M.D.,

The notion that PQRS promotes quality care rests on the flawed assumption that a bloated federal bureaucracy, CMS, can be nimble enough to produce quality measures that keep up with the rapidly evolving state of scientific evidence. Reality contradicts that assumption. Published reviews in JAMA have determined that ‘most guidelines become outdated after 5 years.’ (Medical Economics)

Return to True Quality Care

And if that wasn’t enough to make you change your mind, consider the study published in PLOS Medicine, Quality Care that Matters, which states that the “current quality measures should be abandoned.” Obviously “quality measures should reflect meaningful health outcomes. Surrogate measures do not satisfy this principle. Clinical trial results are often not attained in the real world, and there should be evidence that quality measures do, in fact, substantially improve health outcomes across various locales and practice settings.”

DPCs Make a Real Difference

While this is bad news for standard medicine, it’s good news to all of the doctors and patients who subscribe to DPC. We believe in actual quality, not virtual quality, and that’s more meaningful to us than “Meaningful Use” could ever be!

When you’re ready to take the next step in starting your DPC practice, take a look at our curriculum to see how you can get started.