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April 19, 2006

Will Physician-Level Measures of Clinical Performance Be Used in Medical Malpractice Litigation?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health (Drs Kesselheim and Studdert), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Dr Kesselheim), and Partners/MGH Institute for Health Policy, Division of General Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Dr Ferris), Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2006;295(15):1831-1834. doi:10.1001/jama.295.15.1831

Interest in quality measurement of physician performance is increasing.1 Patients seek ways to identify superior and inferior clinicians,2 and moves by health insurers and other purchasers toward “pay for performance” incentive systems are increasing demand for ways to identify and reward excellent or improving clinicians.3 One way to evaluate physician quality is through physician clinical performance assessment (PCPA), defined as “the quantitative assessment of physician performance based on the rates at which their patients experience certain outcomes of care and/or the rates at which physicians adhere to evidence-based processes of care.”1 Physician clinical performance assessment programs have been developed by payers, physician professional organizations, and consumer advocacy groups. At the national level, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the National Quality Forum have also been active in fostering such initiatives.4

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