An occupational hazard of being friends with other physicians is that you rarely leave stories from healthcare behind.

  It was Friday night, I was at a dinner party with a group of friends, and a colleague who is a pediatrician at a twenty-five site primary care physician group began by telling her story about her clinic meeting earlier that day.   A familiar monthly meeting where the pediatricians would sit down to be scolded for an hour and half by the practice manager, regarding their inadequacies in billing, documentation, efficiency, etc… The doctors had no idea how they were doing until they got to the meeting, and they left with no tools for improvement. This picture repeats itself around the US many times and exemplifies why physicians often stiffen up when they hear about quality measurement.   In many cases quality measures descend upon physicians with little warning or context and tell clinicians how “well or poorly” they are doing with little actionable information. In the era of electronic health records and big data, quality measurement is not going to go away, but it can be more effective.   Imagine the scene above where the physicians are notified about their performance in real-time when they can still change their performance to improve outcomes, or at least connect the data to a patient encounter that they recall. Or better yet, imagine if electronic tools alerted them on to ways to improve. In addition to the quality measure, the physician might see benchmarks from their colleagues and other clinic sites. Lastly and most importantly they would be given the tools to improve their work patterns.   Physicians enter the profession with the hope of alleviating pain and suffering but sometimes the practice of medicine leaves them powerless on ways to improve their care. We must use data to help empower them.    –written by Anand Shah, MD