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News

American College of Gastroenterology Quality Council to meet the needs of clinical gastroenterology

This month's issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology reports on the newly established American College of Gastroenterology Quality Council to meet the needs of clinical gastroenterology.

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The Institute of Medicine has defined quality as the 'degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood for desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge'.

What everyone agrees on is that high-quality care should be safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable.

'Quality'', however the term is defined, will remain part of the practice of medicine for the foreseeable future, particularly because reimbursement will be increasingly tied to quality.

It is also important to realize that quality impacts many aspects of medicine, including research, education, patient care, and even advocacy.

Dr Sunanda Kane from Minnesota USA investigated the concept of 'quality', and report that it encompasses 'quality assurance', 'quality control', and 'quality improvement'.

The team report that It is clear that the variability of cost and quality in medicine will be an early target for intense management.

The changing landscape of health care will not only force the typical gastroenterology (GI) practice to participate in more extensive benchmarking activities but lead to a change in focus from an internal to an external audience.

Traditional benchmarking has focused on cost and efficiency, and because of downward pricing pressure, this will continue.

The intense focus on quality will force defensive benchmarking

American Journal of Gastroenterology

The researchers noted that the intense focus on quality and value-based purchasing, as well as the rising consumerism related to health-care consumption, will force defensive benchmarking—with an eye to how the data will be perceived by an external audience.

Defensive benchmarking will evaluate the confluence of quality measures, patient satisfaction, and price, in light of how these will be evaluated by the potential patient and the insurance payers.

Dr Kane's team concludes, "Traditional benchmarking can provide cost data to support pricing decisions, but well-defined and broadly accepted quality measures that can transcend single episodes of care, and are applicable to complex patients and across specialties have yet to be developed."

"In developing these measures, the GI community will need to acknowledge the evolution of GI practice forced by the development of new technology as well as the bundling of services such as radiology and the integration of anesthesia and pathology services within the practice of gastroenterology."

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108:7–9
17 January 2013

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