US physician practices spend $15.4B+ yearly on quality reporting: 8 survey findings

Anuja Vaidya -   Print  |

U.S. physician practices spend, on average, more than $15.4 billion dealing with the reporting of quality measures every year, according to a new Health Affairs article.

The researchers used the Medical Group Management Association database to invite 1,000 randomly selected practices to respond to a confidential web-based survey. These included 250 practices from four specialty types: cardiology, orthopedics, primary care (family medicine and general internal medicine) and multispecialty practices that included primary care. A total of 394 practices responded.


Here are eight findings:


1. At least 90 percent of practices in each specialty received data on quality from external entities. Between 70.9 percent and 91.7 percent of practices expended efforts dealing with external quality measures.


2. On average, physicians and staff spent a total of 15.1 hours per physician per week dealing with quality measures, with the average physician spending 2.6 hours per week.


3. According to the report, physicians and staff spent 12.5 hours per week on "entering information into the medical record only for the purpose of reporting for quality measures from external entities."


4. The time spent by physicians and staff translates to an average cost of $40,069 per physician per year in a practice.


5. Primary care practices spent $50,468 per physician annually, compared to $34,924 for cardiology practices and $31,471 for orthopedics practices.


6. Eighty-one percent of practices reported the effort spent on quality measures was increasing compared to three years ago.


7. Forty-six percent of practices reported it was a significant burden to deal with measures that were similar but not identical to each other.


8. Comments from specialist respondents, especially orthopedic practices, argued that most quality measures were relevant for primary care but not for their specialty.


More articles on practice management:
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Dr. Christopher Lutz joins Tri-County Orthopedics: 5 things to know

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