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Study: Cost of Quality Reporting on the Rise

April 8, 2016

According to a new study by Weill Cornell Medical College and reported in Health Affairs, medical practices are spending an average of 785 hours per physician, $15.4 billion annually, reporting quality measures to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

The study drew on statistics from physicians in primary care, cardiology, orthopaedic and multi-specialty practices, about 250 physicians of each specialty, for a total of 1,000 physicians drawn randomly from the membership of the Medical Group Membership Association. The general consensus of the study found that the current system is not only exceedingly costly, but "greater effort is needed to standardize measures and make them easier to report."

According to the study, physicians and staff reported spending about 15 hours each week per physicians reporting quality measures with 12 hours spent solely inputting data into medical records for quality reporting. As the hours rack up, so do the dollars. Weill Cornell researchers found that practices spent $40,069 per physician annually on quality reporting - an estimated $15.4 billion in annual spending.

CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in the Health Affairs article that the agency listens to physician feedback to understand their struggles. He cited actual quotes from physicians, including one who said, "Most of what I'm doing during the day is entering data into the EHR."


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