How should we define quality care?
Editor's Note: which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Henry Anhalt, DO, who is in private practice treating pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes. He is also chief medical officer for T1D Exchange, a nonprofit organization. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.Quality means different things to different people, especially as it pertains to healthcare. To those receiving care, quality can mean the amount of time their doctor gives to them during a visit or even the promptness of the visit.
For physicians, quality care may include other measures. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) even contained several provisions that pertained directly to physician quality, mainly through expanding pay for performance and public reporting in the U.S. health system. Some physician and physician groups have embraced the challenge of delivering quality care efficiently by developing innovative care programs, perhaps via more electronic consultations with specialists, telemedicine and special programs for those patients living with chronic diseases.
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With the imminent change in national health policy, we simply can’t predict what will happen next when it comes to standardized quality measures. But as physicians, we know we’ll never take our eyes of the quality care of our patients.
For me, right now I’m not only thinking about the ACA metrics for quality care, but what’s worked for me since those first days I went into medical practice. My success has been grounded in a desire to engage in honest dialogue with my patients that starts with real life before we talk disease management.
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For example, as a pediatric endocrinologist, I regularly treat children with type 1 diabetes. Living with a chronic illness is not easy at any age, let alone living with a chronic illness that demands your vigilance 24/7 as a child. In order to deliver true quality of care, I try to go beyond prescribing a treatment plan for each patient.