They say knowledge is power. But knowledge gained through a cool, interactive online tool is probably even better. At least that’s what I was thinking when I started playing around with The Commonwealth Fund’s Quality-Spending Interactive tool.
Maybe I’m easily amused; I don’t know. But with this tool, you can see the relationship between Medicare quality and spending in your state or local area. Why is this important?
Rising Healthcare Costs and an Aging Population
We all recognize the need to get a handle on the rising cost of healthcare in the United States. But add 3 million Baby Boomers hitting retirement each year to an already stressed healthcare system, and the pressure mounts.
In an article introducing the Quality-Spending Interactive (QSI) tool in 2015, the authors pointed out that while healthcare quality and spending are national concerns, healthcare delivery is local and quality of care and spending vary widely across geographic areas.
“Without the participation of local leaders in every community, efforts to make high-quality care affordable may fall short,” the authors wrote. “The ability to compare quality and spending in local areas could help motivate and guide these leaders. Identifying peer communities, benchmarking, and learning from those that achieve higher-quality care at lower costs are well-established approaches to improvement.”
The QSI was developed by The Commonwealth Fund to provide easily accessible comparative information.
Using the QSI Tool
With the tool, you can compare the “relative value” of care - the amount spent per level of quality achieved - broken down by state or local area.
View total Medicare spending per capita vs. the overall quality score. Or choose a healthcare setting (hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, or home health) and then a quality measure (for example, hospital 30-day readmission rates) to view filtered performance data.
Compare by state or local areas (hospital referral regions, or HRRs). Hover over a dot to see the percentage difference between the state or local area’s quality and spending and the median quality and spending for all states or local areas.
A Quality Comparison
This is information that can also come in handy as we head into the first performance year under MACRA. What is the level of quality of care in your state or local area? How does that quality of care compare to other regions? Can you create benchmarks by comparing Medicare spending and care quality in different locales? Test drive the tool (updated for 2016) and find out!