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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Provides Online Physician Quality Information to Members
Date:12/15/2008

Online physician data provides increased transparency

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is providing its members with online physician quality information in an effort to help them make more informed health care decisions.

"Today, more people have greater out-of-pocket expenses and want to know where to obtain the best care at the best price," said Dr. Carey Vinson, Highmark vice president of medical and quality performance management. "Publicly reported quality and cost data, also referred to as 'transparency,' are in high demand, and we're dedicated to giving our group customers and members the information they need to obtain the best health care possible."

Since 2004, Highmark has been reporting national cost and quality data to members via its Web site. Highmark contracts with Subimo, a leader in the health care information field, to provide access to a broad array of publicly reported quality measures.

Highmark's member Web site includes a "Hospital and Physician Quality Measures" link that allows members to view physician ratings, which are based on particular care quality measures. Care is measured on preventive screenings, office visits and recommended tests and procedures for three areas -- diabetes, pediatrics and women's health. The information being displayed is limited to primary care physicians.

Physicians are rated using one, two or three stars. Stars are used to show how the physician's Highmark patient base compares to the Highmark patient base of similar physicians. More stars indicate the physician's Highmark patients have received the specified care at a higher rate than the Highmark patients of his or her peers. Fewer stars do not necessarily indicate poor performance by the physician.

"Quality ratings are one more piece of information to consider when making decisions about choo
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SOURCE Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
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