Physician Practice

Processing quality measures costs $40K per physician per year

Physician Practice Insider, March 22, 2016

Physician practices spend more than $15.4 billion each year reporting quality measures that nearly three out of four physicians believe do not reflect the best measures of quality, according to a study in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Medical Group Management Association surveyed 394 physician practices from across the nation and found that physicians and their staff averaged 15.1 hours per physician per week processing quality metrics, which is the equivalent of 785.2 hours per physician per year, at an average cost of $40,069 per physician per year.

The survey found that physicians spent 2.6 hours per week dealing with quality measures, time that could have been used to provide care for an additional nine patients. The times spent processing data varied greatly depending upon the practice specialty.

Specialists spent considerably less time and money on reporting data when compared to primary care physicians (PCP). For example, PCPs averaged 3.9 hours per week dealing with quality measures, compared with 1.1 hours for orthopedists, with an average annual cost of $50,468 for PCPs, compared with $31,471 for orthopedists.

"To some extent our survey can be seen as a referendum not just on the current state of quality measurements of physicians, but also of electronic medical records," says study lead author Lawrence Casalino, MD, with the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medical College. "We are talking about substantial amounts of time—$40,000 per physician per year, almost three hours a week, and a lot more time from staff. That's not trivial."

This article was originally published on HealthLeaders Media.

Most Popular