Physician professionalism and accountability: the role of collaborative improvement networks
The medical profession is facing an imperative to deliver more patient-centered care, improve quality, and reduce unnecessary costs and waste. With significant unexplained variation in resource use and outcomes, even physicians and health care organizations with “the best” reputations cannot assume they always deliver the best care possible. Going forward, physicians will need to demonstrate professionalism and accountability in a different way: to their peers, to society in general, and to individual patients. The new accountability includes quality and clinical outcomes but also resource utilization, appropriateness and patient-centeredness of recommended care, and the responsibility to help improve systems of care. The pediatric collaborative improvement network model represents an important framework for helping transform health care. For individual physicians, participation in a multisite network offers the opportunity to demonstrate accountability by measuring and improving care as part of an approach that addresses the problems of small sample size, attribution, and unnecessary variation in care by pooling patients from individual practices and requiring standardization of care to participate. For patients and families, the model helps ensure that they are likely to receive the current best evidence-based recommendation. Finally, this model aligns with payers’ goals of purchasing value-based care, rewarding quality and improvement, and reducing unnecessary variation around current best evidenced-based, effective, and efficient care. In addition, within the profession, the American Board of Pediatrics recognizes participation in a multisite quality improvement network as one of the most rigorous and meaningful approaches for a diplomate to meet practice performance maintenance of certification requirements.
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