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Research Letter
Health Care Reform
May 6, 2019

Assessing the Quality of Public Reporting of US Physician Performance

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 3Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(8):1133-1135. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0398

To empower patients and their caregivers, federal policymakers have recommended greater transparency about the quality of care delivered by the health care sector.1 Physician Compare is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) flagship website about the quality of care provided by US physicians and other clinicians. The website is in its final phase of expansion, the focus of which has been the addition of clinician-level performance data to existing practice-level data, to further help patients and their caregivers choose high-quality clinicians.2 However, it is unclear whether Physician Compare is comprehensive: reporting is voluntary (although failure to submit data evokes a 2% reimbursement penalty3); clinicians choose the measures4; and CMS displays a subset of measures.2 Therefore, using current data from Physician Compare, we addressed 3 questions: How many and what types of clinicians have quality information? How comprehensive are the quality data? How well do the measures differentiate the performance of included clinicians?

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