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Two Health Care Quality Organizations Hold Summit to Build Consensus Around Ways to Minimize Overuse of Five Treatments

For immediate release:
Sept. 28, 2012

Appropriate Use Will Improve Quality and Safety of Patient Care

Chicago – To help reach a consensus on ways to reduce the occurrence of medical treatments that are commonly used but not always necessary, the American Medical Association (AMA)-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) and The Joint Commission co-sponsored the National Summit on Overuse on Sept. 24, 2012 to discuss strategies to improve the quality and safety of patient care.

A variety of key stakeholders, including representatives from physician organizations, medical specialties, government agencies, research institutions and patient groups, came together at the National Summit on Overuse to discuss the appropriate use of the following five treatments and procedures:

  • Heart vessel stents (percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI)
  • Blood transfusions (blood management)
  • Ear tubes (tympanostomy tubes) for brief periods of fluid behind the ear drum
  • Antibiotics for the common cold (viral upper respiratory infections)
  • Early scheduled births (early induction) without medical need

At the summit, participants considered the existing evidence surrounding the appropriate use of these five treatments and procedures and discussed ways to raise awareness among health care professionals and patients and provide ways to reduce overuse by health care professionals. Recommendations to effectively address appropriate use of these treatments to improve health care quality and reduce potential risk to the patient were developed using a consensus-building process. For example, the recommendations included the creation of educational tools for health care professionals and patients, dissemination of leading practices to health care professionals, standardized reporting of data and the alignment of existing guidelines.

"By bringing attention to and discussing appropriate use of these five treatments and sharing best practices with a diverse group of health care stakeholders, we can work together to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care," said AMA-convened PCPI Chair Bernard M. Rosof, M.D.

"Overuse of medical tests, treatments and procedures is a serious quality and patient safety concern that needs urgent attention," said The Joint Commission President Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H. "Our aim is to help improve safety for patients by raising awareness about the inappropriate indications for these procedures and treatments. Widespread and effective dissemination of this important information will help physicians and patients make informed decisions and avoid overuse."

"The AMA is committed to helping physicians improve the health of their patients and is focused on improving patient health outcomes," said AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D. "We are pleased to be working with The Joint Commission. By building on the strategies discussed at the summit, we can help health care professionals ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time."

There are some medical treatments that, when overused or used inappropriately, do little to benefit the patient or may even put the patient at unnecessary risk. In some of these areas, the solutions are known or guidelines already exist but need to be more widely communicated. In other areas, more analysis and research is needed. Appropriate practices must be made consistent from organization to organization and from health professional to health professional to ensure appropriate use.

Podcasts highlighting the day's events are available at http://www.jointcommission.org/podcast.aspx?CategoryId=12&F_All=y.

 

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Media Contact:

Shannon (O'Brien) Breymaier
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4443
Shannon.Breymaier@ama-assn.org

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