US Physician Practices Spend More Than $15.4 Billion Annually to Report Quality Measures

This study, published in Health Affairs, sought to assess the burden of quality measure reporting on physician practices. The authors surveyed 1,000 randomly selected medical practices in the Medical Group Management Association database, including 250 practices from each of four specialty types: cardiology, orthopedics, primary care (family medicine and general internal medicine), and multispecialty practices that included primary care. The survey was designed to be completed online by a leader in each practice and focused on time spent by physicians and other staff on specific activities related to reporting and inspecting quality data; questions also addressed practice leaders’ perceptions of the utility of the measures. Practices reported that their physicians and staff spent 15.1 hours per physician per week dealing with external quality measures. The per physician time spent by physicians and staff translates to an average cost of $40,069 per physician per year, or a combined total of $15.4 billion annually for general internists, family physicians, cardiologists, and orthopedists in the United States.

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