Dr. Douglas Rahner says National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition has helped create friendly competition among providers and is valuable for publicly recognizing those who are providing quality care.
Organization: Family Health Network
Location: Cincinnatus, NY
Number of Patients: Large
In your view, what are the most important measurements of quality care required by the NCQA Diabetes Recognition Program?
I believe blood sugar control (as determined by HbA1c <7% and >9%) and blood pressure control (<130/80 mm Hg and ≥ 140/90 mm Hg) are the most important measurements.
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?
NCQA recognition has enabled better care for patients with diabetes because it allowed the organization to develop policy and procedures to ensure the care was occurring. Also, the measures allowed providers to see actual statistics demonstrating improved diabetes care. NCQA recognition supported the processes that were being followed in the Chronic Care Model.
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?
The organization was already documenting and tracking the diabetes clinical information through a Diabetes Registry called Patient Electronic Care System (PECS).
In what ways did you or Family Health Network have to adjust its policies or practices in order to achieve NCQA recognition?
It was not an adjustment, but a development of policy and procedure to get patients with diabetes an annual dilated eye exam. The organization needed to develop a process and streamline communications with ophthalmologists in the community.
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?
Prior to applying for NCQA DRP (Diabetes Recognition Program), the organization was following a majority of the measures from the Chronic Care Model and had adopted clinical guidelines from the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care. NCQA recognition allowed the organization to make quality improvement to the measures and add the new measure needed to obtain NCQA recognition. The recognition just reinforces the progress the organization has made to address the health care given to patients with diabetes.
Any final thoughts?
It engendered a little bit of competition between providers, which, overall, is helpful in improving performance. It also allowed the organization to formally recognize the providers who have contributed to developing the diabetes program.