Sunday's morning keynote at the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (#acehp)

How did I get so behind in posting about this conference so fast? I'm sitting in the general assembly ballroom waiting for Monday's keynote to begin and I haven't even gotten to yesterday's yet! So this is going to be sketchy, but Louis Diamond, MD, president of Quality Healthcare Consultants was thought-provoking in his talk about how all the pieces of the national performance improvement movement are starting to come into alignment just as aspects of the healthcare reform act call for performance and quality improvement that require an overhaul of the system. CME providers, he said, are in the right place at the right time to make a difference. especially as the health information technology (HIT) piece is becoming rapidly integrated into the improvement agenda, which also just so happens to include CME/CPD.

He set the stage by citing just how bad it is in the U.S. (32 percent of patients say they've experienced medical and/or lab errors, more than a slew of other countries he listed, and our readmission rates are pretty dismal). And costs are seriously out of control: U.S. salaries have increased 38 percent over the past 10 years, while healthcare costs have soared 131 percent. If milk had that inflation rate, it would cost $48 per gallon. Yikes, anyone! While the cost of care in the U.S. is double that of other Western nations, they're also experiencing ridiculous (my word, not his) healthcare inflationary rates.

But while things like healthcare reform, CMS' PQRS, Maintenance and Certification and likely soon, Maintenance of Licensure, and ARRA and HITECH, and other acronyms I think I missed as we whizzed through the slides, are aligning, there are still misalignments, he said.

Quoting Don Berwick, he said, "You can't fatten a pig by weighing it repeatedly," meaning that while it's great we've put work into measurement and reporting, it's now time to focus on improvement.

Among his recommendations:

* Get to know the national performance improvement initiatives (NQF, NPP, etc.) Join them.

* Adopt NQF and NPP recommendations as a framework for what you do.

* Facilitate national and local discussions between measurement improvement groups, CPD groups, and HIT groups. As he said, the other two groups already are starting to come together, and "You need to get into the dance."

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