"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

MNCM Leading Ground-Breaking National Study on Clinical Performance

Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM) was recently awarded a $1.3 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grant to lead an innovative national study which will help consumers better understand and assess the quality of their local providers. RWJF officially launched the project this week.

MNCM will manage the study, known as “The DOCTOR Project,” which will report comparative data on clinical performance from up to 10 communities throughout the United States. It will run over two years and its results are expected to be published in Consumer Reports.

“While millions of Americans check online restaurant reviews before dining out, most consumers lack access to reliable, objective information on the quality of care available to them. That makes it difficult to compare options and make informed choices,” said Susan Mende, senior program officer at RWJF. “This project seeks to bridge that gap by encouraging communities to build sustainable systems for collecting and reporting data on local physicians’ performance.”

MNCM will partner closely with and aggregate data from up to 10 regional health improvement collaboratives around the country, including Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP), Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and Integrated Health Association (California). Other key partners include the Health Business Group and Consumer Reports.  MNCM, MHQP and WCHQ previously partnered with Consumer Reports to produce highly-successful magazine inserts in 2012 and 2013 focused on optimal diabetes and vascular care, and colorectal care screening.

“This pioneering study will demonstrate the true power of regional collaboratives to improve clinical outcomes and increase patient engagement,” said Jim Chase, President at MNCM. “Due to our multi-stakeholder approach, regional collaboratives are uniquely positioned to provide credible information on clinical performance. And our relationships with providers, purchasers and other stakeholders are vital to connecting the dots that result in better health for our communities.”

The DOCTOR Project will focus on achieving four primary goals:

  • To collect comparable measures of clinical performance from up to 10 communities around the United States.
  • To use this data to design sustainable reports and products that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.
  • To create and test the feasibility of a sustainable organizational funding model for reporting standardized ratings on patients’ experiences with their ambulatory care physicians.
  • To develop a business strategy for a user-generated online rating system that includes commentary by patients about their experiences with physicians.

The project is expected to result in at least two rounds of clinical quality measures being published in Consumer Reports, beginning next year.

“Comparing the performance of physicians credibly, presenting them fairly, in ways consumers will see them and use them is a task no single organization can do,” said John Santa, Medical Director at Consumer Reports. “Our country always solves problems with a combination of local, regional and national solutions. The organizations involved in The DOCTOR Project, working together, can touch consumers at all of those levels.”

Recruitment of participating regional collaboratives has recently begun. Results are expected to be published in 2015.