Measuring Care to make it Accountable: Lessons from Meaningful Use for Australia

Today I read the Commonwealth Fund’s report on the “Recommended Core Measures for Evaluating the Patient Centered Medical Home“. I have been a fan of the Commonwealth Fund for many years. Its research in comparing healthcare systems has been the center piece of many presentation I have seen over the years, and Australia ranks highly, but not quite at the top.

There has been much discussion about moving from an activity based system to a outcomes based system, which sounds great. However without a good idea of what the outcomes are, and ensuring they are reasonable, we cannot proceed towards an outcomes based system. In this document they make a great first attempt at defining what sort of outcomes a well coordinated primary care system can reasonably deliver in the short to medium term. It looks at the three criteria of cost, utilization and clinical quality, so there is something in there for all stakeholders.

It is a great example of taking reform and turning it into something quantifiable which can be measured, and makes a quantifiable difference to the health of the patients and the population. I believe that if we used these sort of criteria in Australia for our health reform projects and helped translate them to the politicians and general population in a way that is relevant to them, we would be far more progressed in our health reform journey.

The other key thing is that they demonstrate the value of good use of technology in healthcare to capture relevant information and make it readily available in near real time so we can use it to drive clinical actions. It has a lot in common with “meaningful use” used by the ONCHIT in the USA for driving adoption of technology in the healthcare system. From one of my previous posts you would know I am a big an of clinically relevant meaningful use, and this I hope we can keep an eye on these initiatives, and see how we can leverage them for bettr healthcare. we can

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