Posted by: AtlasMD

February 15, 2016

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Hitting Measurements and Failing Patients


We recently posted about The Virtual Quality Myth, so we were really excited to see this New York Times article about how measurements are failing our doctors and teachers.

When Measurements Don’t Cut It

Most of the doctors that we talk to on a daily basis understand this basic principle: measurements that are based on outdated standards can’t possibly lead to positive patient results. The NYT brings up a good point: With all the rules and paperwork and documentation, doctors still speak to their patients — they still consult and provide treatment, but now they have to be really accurate with how and when they mark this information down. It becomes nearly impossible to have a long conversation with a patient when you’re worried about tracking every issue, instance, and idea. Once the systems entered the game, the personal interaction and connection moved out of sight.

We saw this as a problem many years ago, though it seems like the idea is spreading a little quicker now that we’re seeing the failure of the “measurement method,” as we’re calling it.

“…the objections became harder to dismiss as evidence mounted that even superb and motivated professionals had come to believe that the boatloads of measures, and the incentives to “look good,” had led them to turn away from the essence of their work. In medicine, doctors no longer made eye contact with patients as they clicked away.” (New York Times)

We’re obviously behind Robert M. Wachter, the author of the New York Times article, and we were excited to read this quote in particular, since it’s exactly what we try to do with our DPC:

“Last week, Andy Slavitt, Medicare’s acting administrator, announced the end of a program that tied Medicare payments to a long list of measures related to the use of electronic health records. ‘We have to get the hearts and minds of physicians back,’ said Mr. Slavitt. ‘I think we’ve lost them.”

The best part about this is that DPC doctors are already doing exactly what this NYT article is hoping for:

“In health care, [minimization of measurement burdens] will come through advances in natural language processing, which may ultimately allow us to assess the quality of care by having computers “read” the doctor’s note, obviating the need for all the box-checking. In both fields, simulation, video review and peer coaching hold promise.

Sometimes it’s good to know that we’re doing the right thing. And we think other DPC doctors will be excited to hear that their choices are not only positive, but they’re measuring up! Check out some more ideas and see how our EMR can help you get your practice moving.