Thursday, October 02, 2014

Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation (Q Corp) has released updated quality scores for primary care clinics across the state on its Partner for Quality Care website. The site allows consumers and other stakeholders to compare how clinics in Oregon perform in areas such as preventive care, chronic disease care and appropriate use of health care services.  After reviewing the data it becomes clear the quality scoring is less than useful for rural Oregonians on the coast.

Q Corp, a nonprofit organization, has been a leader in the local effort to provide the public with information about the quality of health care delivered in Oregon's clinics and hospitals. In 2008, Q Corp published the first public reports of health care quality for primary care clinics across the state. Since that time, the push for increased transparency in health care has grown, and public reporting has been included in many local and national initiatives to improve care. An example in Oregon is the recently proposed standards for recognition as a Patient-Centered Primary Care Home through the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which would give clinics credit for participating in public reporting.  The results are not complete for either Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, or Seaside Providence Hospital because some of the responses to targeted areas of care in the survey had an insufficent response, However both facilities ranked in the upper 90% in positive response to a number of areas in patient care dealing with heart issues and surgery, for example, indicating high performance.  While both hospitals have been directing more attention toward the patient experience in recent years the data used in this report taken from 2011 failed to garner enough response to the benchmark questions in this area to score.

"In true Oregon spirit, every year our community leaders come together to champion greater transparency in health care to meet the growing needs of consumers and other stakeholders," says Mylia Christensen, executive director at Q Corp. "Oregon is leading the country in the development of new health care innovations and Q Corp's public reporting program is being used as a unique source of trusted information about the care delivered to more than 2 million Oregonians. Q Corp has become a national model for translating data from multiple health plans, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage into information consumers can use to make decisions for themselves and their family members." Though it appears from the report that most focused efforts by the organization to gather data is from metro facilities with rural data lacking or having in insufficent sample size.  For example, Coastal Family Health Care Clinic ranks below average in most benchmarks based on the number of tests ordered for various ailments but in some there isn't enough information provided making the quality scoring less than meaningful.  

In addition to an annual update of quality scores, Q Corp has added new types of information to the public reporting website.  In June 2013, Q Corp began publicly reporting on the patient experience of care at the clinic level. This information was collected using a nationally endorsed survey that asks patients about communications with their doctor, access to timely care when they need it, and whether they were treated with courtesy and respect by all staff at a doctor's office.  This milestone event was a collaboration between Q Corp, OHA and other community partners, and was made possible because of the commitment of 10 pioneering clinics to measure, report and improve the patient experience of care. Again, in the case of local facilities on the North Coast from Astoria to Tillamook, the data is sparse to non-existent.

Q Corp's public reports of health care quality and utilization are based on claims data contributed by eight of Oregon's largest health plans, two managed Medicaid organizations, and the OHA's Division of Medical Assistance Programs. Q Corp's public reporting program is also supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, a program in 16 communities across the United States. AF4Q is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's signature effort to improve the overall quality of health care in targeted communities. In 2007, RWJF selected Q Corp to lead the local AF4Q effort. Q Corp is also a designated Chartered Value Exchange by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and a member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement.

For more information about the public reports available on the Partner for Quality Care website, visit www.PartnerforQualityCare.org. For more information about Q Corp, visit www.Q-Corp.org.

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