Physicians Data Corp. Uses Clinical Information to Benchmark Best Practices

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By Nancy Groves. Physicians and health care organizations are under unrelenting pressure from managed care organizations to deliver high quality, low cost care, and to achieve this goal they need to know not only how they are performing but how their peers are doing under the same circumstances. . Enter benchmarking, a term used to describe the process of comparing one individual or organization to its peers in order to improve quality. . While there's no shortage of companies and consultants offering benchmarking services, one of the newest entrants is an Atlanta-based firm that claims to offer a unique advantage to physician practices and other segments of the health care market. . "We collect and deliver physician-based clinical outcomes data," says Alex Kalasinsky, president and chief executive officer of Physicians Data Corp. (PDC). "The others are using claims-based data. To my knowledge, none of them are using clinical data, at least not to any depth." . Slippery slope . Benchmarking, an outgrowth of the 1980s continuous quality improvement trend, is used in most industries. But the non-finite nature of medicine makes it notoriously difficult to apply to health care. As a result, insurers and physician groups have turned to the most readily available source, claims information based on ICD-9-CM, CPT-4, and DRG code data. ...

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