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October 31, 2018

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Article Highlights Need for ID Quality Measures

As health care shifts from reimbursement based on numbers of patients seen or procedures performed to reimbursement based on quality of care, the infectious diseases specialty will need to develop measures that accurately reflect the complex, expert care that ID physicians provide. A recent article, “How Do You Measure Up: Quality Measurement for Improving Patient Care and Establishing the Value of Infectious Diseases Specialists,” published in Clinical Infectious Diseases outlines the growing importance of quality measures, how they relate to ID, and how metrics specific to the field might be crafted.

Approved quality measures currently available for reporting through Medicare’s new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), such as those related to antibiotic use or common, routine infections, are often more applicable to care provided by non-specialists, lead author Joshua Eby, MD notes. They do not accurately quantify the value that ID physicians provide in more complex, difficult cases, where consultation with an ID specialist can significantly improve patient outcomes, which several studies have shown. Without adequate metrics or benchmarks, payers, health care institutions, and medical provider groups may struggle to fully assess the value of ID specialty care under new payment models.

The article describes considerations for the development of quality measures for the ID specialty and approaches taken by providers in other specialties, such as rheumatology, to create a clinical data registry as an alternative to MIPS reporting. Ultimately, the authors note, an effective mix of nationally recognized ID-related measures will help move the specialty forward by promoting improved patient care, demonstrating ID specialists’ contributions to care, and allowing institutions and payers to properly value the important services that ID physicians provide.

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