Dr. Brenda Davies-Wait discusses the importance of National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition, including the benefits of having hard patient data and of learning where providers can make improvements.
Organization: Bassett Healthcare Network
Location: Cooperstown, NY
Number of Patients: Medium
In your view, what are the most important measurements of quality care required by the NCQA Diabetes Recognition Program?
The HgA1C is the most important measurement. At this point, we know that one of the best ways to assess our management of our diabetic patients is the HgA1C. However, I do think we need to be careful when we state that good control is for those less than 7%; this could be inaccurate in a practice that is mostly older as most of us are comfortable with HgA1C of 7.5%.
How will NCQA recognition help you enable better care for diabetes patients? Are there any specific positive changes in patients’ health outcomes that you are now expecting to see?
Thinking how you are doing versus knowing are two very different things. The recognition process allows us to see how we are doing with hard data. With the data, we can then make changes in our process. For example, we have made changes to improve our foot exam assessments in the following ways: We now place a footprint on the progress note when diabetic patients come in for a visit to remind the provider to do a foot exam; we will be training our nurses to do foot exams; we also reviewed, as a group, the standards of care and ways we may be able to continue to educate our patients.
Did compiling the data for NCQA’s evaluation help you better organize your patients’ information, or did you already have an electronic record system in place?
With the EMR, patient information is current. We already had the EMR, so there was no change in our organization.
In what ways did you or Bassett Healthcare Network have to adjust policies or practices in order to achieve NCQA recognition?
We did not have to adjust policies or practices.
In your opinion, what is the overall value of recognition programs for diabetes care? Do they encourage providers to adhere to the most updated standards or routines? Does such recognition make it easier to remember to perform needed tests or take certain measurements?
Being recognized allows patients and other providers to know we strive for perfect care. Going through recognition allows providers to assess how they are doing and see areas that they may need to improve on.
Any final thoughts?
I cannot stress how important it is to know where you stand in your practice so you can always make a positive change.