Doctor Works To Measure Outcomes Of Provider Care

Forbes profiles "the most powerful doctor you never heard of," a Yale cardiologist who does "outcomes research" in which he measures "how well doctors are doing in the real world, outside of controlled trials--what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong and what they are forgetting to do entirely."

"By figuring out what to measure and how, [Harlan Krumholz] showed that even top hospitals were systematically underperforming, largely because no one was tracking the results. In 2004 he proved that only one-third of American hospitals were treating heart attack patients quickly enough. His work laid the groundwork for the system the Medicare program now uses to compare hospitals. Another line of research proved that heart-failure patients are frequent flyers: They end up back in the hospital almost as soon as they leave. This result led to a provision in Obama's new health reform law that will allow Medicare to dock hospitals' pay starting in 2012 if that revolving door is moving too fast. The new law even creates a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that aims to extend the type of work Krumholz does in cardiology to other medical arenas such as cancer and psychiatry" (Herper, 9/9).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.