Doctors group ranked highest in Metro Detroit

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

A 408-member physician group serving patients at St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals and University of Michigan Hospital ranked highest among Metro Detroit physician organizations in ratings to be published in Consumer Reports’ May edition.

Ann Arbor-based Integrated Health Associates (IHA) was the only physician organization to achieve the highest rating possible on each of three quality-of-care measures.

The ratings are part of an initiative called The Doctor Project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study was led by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC), a Southeast Michigan collaborative dedicated to improving health across the region.

Researchers compared the performance of 13 of the region’s largest physician organizations on the quality of their care for patients with high cholesterol and diabetes, and on how often they provide the right screening tests for colon cancer. Each quality measure was given a rating of one, two or three, with a one being the lowest score possible, and three the highest.

“One of the many reasons IHA is a successful multi-specialty physician group is our fantastic Quality team that supports our providers,” said Dr. Mary Durfee, executive vice president and chief medical officer at IHA. “Additionally, our providers are truly engaged in delivering quality care to our patients. The work flows and processes recommended by our Quality team assist our providers in identifying gaps in care.”

Physician organizations in regions of eight states — including California, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan— agreed to publish quality ratings of physician groups for the project.

The Detroit Medical Center Physician Hospital Organization (DMC PHO) was the only Metro Detroit physician organization to receive a rating of one on any quality measure, scoring a one for the percentage of patients ages 51 through 75 who are appropriately screened for colorectal cancer.

“At the Detroit Medical Center...providing safe, high-quality care is our top priority,” a DMC official said. “Our Physician Hospital focused on continual improvement and have implemented several initiatives for performance enhancement, including participation in both Blue Cross Blue Shield and DMC's internal quality improvement programs.”

Lisa Mason, vice president of program partnerships with the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, said making data available to consumers is an important step toward improving the quality of health care.

“(Being a health care consumer) is a lot different than it used to be, when you wait and call when you’re sick,” Mason said. “It’s more proactive. We’re living in an information age when we have all kinds of data available to us.”