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A tool for evaluating the potential for cost-effective outcomes measurement

Authors Somasekhar M, Bove A, Rausch C, Degnan J, Thomas-King C, Meyer A

Received 4 February 2012

Accepted for publication 5 March 2012

Published 18 April 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 365—372


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Melinda M Somasekhar1, Alfred Bove2, Chris Rausch1, James Degnan3, Cathy T King1, Arnold Meyer1
1The Albert J Finestone, MD, Office for Continuing Medical Education, 2Section of Cardiology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3Measurement and Research Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract: Cost related to higher-level outcomes measurement is often very high. However, the cost burden is felt even more by smaller, less well-funded continuing medical education (CME) programs. It is possible to overcome financial and participant-related barriers to measuring Level 6 outcomes, which are patient health outcomes. The Temple University School of Medicine’s Office for Continuing Medical Education developed a sequential tool for attaining cost-effective outcomes measurement for determining the likelihood of a CME intervention to produce significant changes in physician performance. The appropriate selection of the CME topic and specific practice change indictors drive this tool. This tool walks providers through a simple YES or NO decision-making list that guides them toward an accurate prediction of potential programmatic outcomes. Factors considered during the decision-making process include whether: (a) the intended change(s) will have a substantial impact on current practice; (b) the intended practice change(s) are well supported by clinical data, specialty organization/government recommendations, expert opinion, etc; (c) the potential change(s) affects a large population; (d) external factors, such as system pressures, media pressures, financial pressures, patient pressures, safety pressures, etc, are driving this intended change in performance; (e) there is a strong motivation on the part of physicians to implement the intended change(s); and (f) the intended change(s) is relatively easy to implement within any system of practice. If each of these questions can be responded to positively, there is a higher likelihood that the intended practice-related change(s) will occur. Such change can be measured using a simpler and less costly methodology.

Keywords: outcomes, outcomes measurement, cost-effective, evaluation tool, continuing medical education

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