New tool helps blood specialists improve patient care

(WASHINGTON and PHILADELPHIA, September 13, 2006) – The American Society of Hematology (ASHTM) and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announce the development of the first in a new wave of performance evaluation tools for blood specialists.

In response to a change in requirements to maintain ABIM certification, ASH and ABIM have co-developed the Hematology Practice Improvement Module (PIM), a web-based tool physicians use to complete their practice performance assessment requirement for recertification. Participants in ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program, must complete several self-evaluation steps, including reviewing patient charts and answering questions that determine compliance with pre-established performance measures developed by ASH that are important in the care of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

"The hematologists who use these measures are not passive learners. They are not simply reading about how to improve patient care – they will be doing it," said Steven Allen, MD, a member of the ASH Committee on Practice, which is developing new parameters for measuring performance on the treatment of several blood disorders and cancers. "Participants will be making real-time changes to the way they care for patients. The importance of this experience is invaluable, not only to the physician, but to the patient as well."

From applying these measures, physicians will then be able to enter the resulting data into ABIM's online module to examine their current processes of care for diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of patients with MDS. The data collected and analyzed provide feedback on specific ways in which their patient care could be improved, and are used as a basis for designing and implementing a practice improvement plan. The Self-Directed PIM makes it easy to enter the data, design the improvement plan, and report to ABIM on the changes made to the practice.

"We commend ASH for their leadership in identifying these performance measures to improve the quality of care hematologists provide to their patients," said Christine Cassel, MD, President and CEO of ABIM. "By completing the Hematology PIM, physicians have a convenient and effective way to earn points towards maintenance of certification, improve their practice, and, most importantly, enhance the quality of care they provide."

ASH is developing additional measures in the area of multiple myeloma to be released within the next several months. In addition to the evaluation component, each set of measures will be accompanied by physician resources and educational materials. For more information on the new Hematology PIM, visit www.hematology.org/education/recertification/pims.cfm.

ABIM's Practice Improvement Modules enable physicians to conduct a confidential self-evaluation of the medical care that they provide. Through programs jointly sponsored by the ABIM and specialty societies, the diplomate is eligible for Category 1 CME credit for completing each self-evaluation module and preparation for the secure exam.

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The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that grants board certification – a marker of physician quality in the United States and internationally – to internists and subspecialists. Certification is a rigorous, comprehensive program for evaluating physician knowledge, skills, and attitudes to assure both patients and payers that a physician has achieved competence for practice in a given field. Individual physician certification results may be found at www.abim.org.


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