Purpose: Measuring and providing performance feedback to physicians has gained momentum not only as a way to comply with regulatory requirements, but also as a way to improve patient care. Measurement of structural, process, and outcome metrics in a reliable, evidence-based, specialty-specific manner maximizes the probability of improving physician performance. The manner in which feedback is provided influences whether the measurement tool will be successful in changing behavior. We created an innovative reporting tool template for anesthesiology practitioners designed to provide detailed, continuous feedback covering many aspects of clinical practice.
Methods: The literature regarding quality metric measurement and feedback strategies was examined to design a reporting tool that could provide high quality information and result in improved performance of clinical and academic tasks. A committee of department leaders and information technology professionals was tasked with determining the measurement criteria and infrastructure needed to generate these reports. Data was collected in a systematic, unbiased manner, and reports were populated with information from multiple databases and software systems. Feedback would be based on frequently updated information and allow for analysis of historical performance as well as comparison amongst peers.
Results: A template for an anesthesia report card was created. Categories included compliance, credentialing and qualifications, education, clinical and operating room responsibilities, and academic achievements. Physicians were able to choose to be evaluated in some of the categories and had to meet a minimum number of criteria within each category. This allowed for customization to each practitioner's practice. Criteria were derived from the measures of academic and clinical proficiency, as well as quality metrics. Criteria were objective measures and data gathering was often automated. Reports could be generated that were updated daily and provided historical information, and information about peers in the department and within each subspecialty group.
Conclusions: We demonstrate the creation of an online anesthesia report card that incorporates metrics most likely to engender positive changes in practice and academic responsibilities. This tool provides timely and customized information for each anesthesia practitioner, designed to be easily modifiable to improve the quantity, quality, and substance of metrics being measured. Finally, our tool could serve as a template for a performance measuring tool that can be customizable to a wide variety of practice settings, and upon which both monetary and non-monetary incentives might be based in the future.