Report Gives New Insights for Improving Cardiac Care


November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010 – The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) issued a joint report outlining new performance measures in cardiac care. The full report will be published in the Nov. 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“As performance measures have grown in importance, we must constantly be sure that they are created in the most sound scientific manner so that the goal of using these measures – to improve care – are most likely to be achieved,” said John A Spertus, M.D., MPH Daniel Lauer/Missouri Endowed Chair and professor, University of Missouri Kansas City and chair of the 12-person writing committee. “This document provides guidance to the creators of performance measures so that they can create the most useful measures to improve the quality of care.”

The inherent delay between the collection of new evidence and its adoption into routine care means performance measures do not always take emerging evidence into account. The updated report addresses this issue and ensures that only the processes of care associated with the strongest evidence and meaningful outcomes are endorsed, Spertus said.

“Professional societies have learned a lot about new challenges and opportunities since the original recommendations for the methodology of performance measure development were written five years ago,” he said. “Since performance measures, once developed, almost always become mandatory clinical actions, it is very important that the issues raised in this paper be considered so that adverse consequences can be avoided.”

Currently, performance measures are more often used as tools for accountability and reimbursement. Initially, they were intended to help physicians improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.

“As we use performance measures, we have learned how to make them more accurate, meaningful and actionable,” Spertus said. “Recently, insurers are starting to pay more for practices that more often comply with performance measures and major payers, such as Medicare, are increasingly publishing providers’ performance for the public to review.”

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