As the primary means by which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services promotes quality health care throughout the country's hospitals, nursing homes, and home care, QIOs affect 40 million beneficiaries. The researchers conducted interviews with 100 directors of quality management from a randomly selected cross-section of all acute care hospitals operating in 2001. More than ninety percent of the hospitals reported that QIOs had initiated specific interventions, most commonly providing educational materials, benchmark data, and hospital performance data. The majority of respondents, sixty percent, rated QIO interventions as "helpful" or "very helpful." The generally positive view of QIOs suggests that they are poised to take a leading role in promoting quality of care. "However, to fulfill this leadership role effectively, QIOs will need to find ways to integrate physicians and hospital senior management more fully into QIO quality improvement initiatives," the authors conclude.
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Elizabeth H. Bradley is an associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine.
Dr. Bradley is available for questions and interviews.