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Physician Group Touts Evidence-Based Performance Measures to Lower Healthcare Costs

October 31, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The American College of Physicians (ACP), a Philadelphia-based physician member organization, is touting a series of various performance measurement recommendations to curb spending on, what it calls, unnecessary services. The measures are included within a policy paper from ACP in a recent issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The ACP says evidence-based performance measures for low-value tests and treatments is the path to higher-value care. The organization uses diagnostic imaging for uncomplicated low back pain as an example of a low-cost intervention that comes from evidence-based measurements. The evidence, ACP says, is that high-cost X-ray or advanced imaging methods do not improve the health outcomes of patients.

“We need valid, evidence-based performance measures to reduce the overuse of tests and treatments that provide little benefit or might even cause harm,” said Amir Qaseem, M.D., Ph.D. director of clinical policy at ACP, said in a statement. “Physicians and patients need to work together to pursue care that improves health, avoids harms, and eliminates wasteful practices.”

The ACP says that performance measures should be based on high quality evidence that assess the benefits, risks, and costs of interventions. It also says data from different types of research designs and methods, such as subgroup analyses from clinical trials, cohort studies, cost-benefit analyses, and cost-effectiveness analyses, can develop performance measures for low-value interventions.

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