Primary care physicians (PCPs) play an indispensable role in providing comprehensive care and referring patients for specialty care and other medical services. As the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts patient access to care, understanding the quality of primary care is critical at this unprecedented moment to support patients with complex medical needs in the primary care setting and inform policymakers to redesign our primary care system. The traditional way of collecting information from patient surveys is time-consuming and costly, and novel data collection and analysis methods are needed. In this review paper, we describe the existing algorithms and metrics that use the real-world data to qualify and quantify primary care, including the identification of an individual’s likely PCP (identification of plurality provider and major provider), assessment of process quality (for example, appropriate-care-model composite measures), and continuity and regularity of care index (including the interval index, variance index and relative variance index), and highlight the strength and limitation of real world data from electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data in determining the quality of PCP care. The EHR audits facilitate assessing the quality of the workflow process and clinical appropriateness of primary care practices. With extensive and diverse records, administrative claims data can provide reliable information as it assesses primary care quality through coded information from different providers or networks. The use of EHRs and administrative claims data may be a cost-effective analytic strategy for evaluating the quality of primary care.
Wang, Y., Zheng, J., Schneberk, T. et al. What quantifies good primary care in the United States? A review of algorithms and metrics using real-world data. BMC Prim. Care 24, 130 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-023-02080-y
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