|Washington Medical Quality Measurably Improves, According To Premera Blue Cross
Since 2002, Washington physicians have steadily improved
their adherence to prevailing quality standards, according to the 2008
Quality Score Card (QSC) produced by Premera Blue Cross and 15 large
In 2002 Premera asked six regional medical groups to
help define and create a Washington QSC. Over time, this collaboration
has evolved into multiple quality programs providing medical-quality
benchmarks and data to more than 200 medical practices.
"The QSC takes on greater significance given that this
collaboration began before the 2003 Rand Health study declared only 55
percent of care provided in the U.S. met quality guidelines," said Dr.
John Castiglia, Premera’s chief medical officer and senior vice
president. In addition to being one of the early prototypes for
providing the public with clinical information on medical quality, the
QSC has remained faithful to its original mission of sharing data among
physicians to improve the quality of care their patients receive.
In recent years, Premera has worked with other Northwest
organizations to introduce expanded community scorecards, including the
Oregon Healthcare Quality Corporation, and the Puget Sound Health
Alliance which this year published its first Health Alliance Community
In 2007, Premera extended its quality efforts to
hospitals as the first health plan invited to join the Washington State
Hospital Association’s (WSHA) Patient Safety Initiative. WSHA
views Premera’s work in the "out-patient" setting on quality as
being on a parallel track to its campaign to accelerate the adoption of
best practices to reduce medical errors in the "in-patient" setting.
"The joint efforts of Premera Blue Cross and the
participating Quality Score Card medical practices have made
significant contributions to the healthcare of Washington families,"
said Carol Wagner, vice president of WSHA’s patient safety
program. "By working together, they crafted quality measures and
processes that have helped physicians across Washington improve the
quality of preventive care and the treatment of diabetes, heart
disease, asthma and acute infectious illnesses."
The QSC participating medical groups, who care for more
than 250,000 Premera members in Washington, include: Columbia Medical
Associates; The Everett Clinic; Lakeshore Medical Group; Madrona
Medical Group (part of PeaceHealth Medical Group since July 2008);
Minor & James Medical; MultiCare Health System; Pacific Medical
Centers; Pediatric Associates; Physicians Clinic of Spokane; The
Polyclinic; Puget Sound Family Physicians; Rockwood Clinic, P.S.;
Virginia Mason Medical Center; Swedish Physicians; University of
Washington Medicine Neighborhood Clinics; and Wenatchee Valley Medical
Premera’s 2008 Healthcare Quality Award Program
also honors 29 clinics that define statewide best-practice standards on
indicators of chronic care, preventive care, acute care and overall
quality. Factors cited by these physicians that help them deliver
quality care in their practices:
- A high adoption rate of electronic medical and health records systems;
- Use of care guidelines;
- Partnering with patients to educate them about how to improve their outcomes; and
- Measuring outcomes as part of treatment plan and praising patients when outcomes improve.
Address: Premera Blue Cross, 3900 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane, WA 99202; (509) 536-4700, www.premera.com.