News and Events

The American Health Care Quality Association and Bridges To Excellence Team-up To Recognize Physician Practice Excellence

October 31, 2006

Comprehensive toolkit helps QIOs assess physician practice eligibility for financial rewards and public recognition.

Washington, DC – The American Health Quality Association (AHQA) and Bridges to Excellence (BTE) released today a set of surveys and other tools that Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) can use to assess physician practices as they re-engineer their systems of care. Physician practices determined to meet the specific criteria will be eligible for financial rewards and public recognition. The toolkit enables QIOs to assess eligible practices using a common set of metrics. The assessment will determine the extent to which each practice meets certain standards related to the adoption and use of health IT and care management programs, active participation in clinical performance measurement, and tracking of patients over time. Practices that achieve a certain performance threshold will be reported to BTE as meeting criteria of its Physician Office Link program and can become eligible to receive financial rewards and public recognition.

“Employers and health plans across the country are adopting BTE’s programs to fuel their pay-for-performance efforts. They are looking for physicians and physician practices that can demonstrate that they have reengineered the way they practice medicine in a way that is consistent with the Institute of Medicine’s six aims for better care,” said Francois de Brantes, National Coordinator for BTE. “Physicians and physician practices have been looking for a business case to reengineer and our program does that. The QIOs provide an invaluable public service by giving hands-on help to these practices and making sure that they are delivering good quality care. This toolkit will enable all QIOs to participate in this important effort.”

“QIOs have been helping practices across the country to adopt and use health IT and care management processes as part of their contract with Medicare,” said David Schulke, Executive Vice President of AHQA. “This partnership with BTE provides an opportunity to engage practices in a new way and help them win financially, in addition to serving patients better.”

In August, President Bush signed an Executive Order asking all branches of the federal government to use their purchasing power and other means to help promote the adoption of health IT, the public release of performance measures, and the creation of incentives to reward providers for better performance. With the release of this toolkit, QIOs can now contribute to progress in all four areas. Since 1999, they have been the only nationally coordinated infrastructure helping physician practices and other providers improve the quality and safety of their care.

About BTE

The Bridges to Excellence coalition is a not-for-profit organization created to encourage significant leaps in the quality of care by recognizing and rewarding health care providers who demonstrate that they deliver safe, timely, effective, efficient and patient-centered care. Bridges to Excellence partners include the National Business Coalition on Health, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Healthgrades, The LeapFrog Group and Michael Pine and Associates. Participants include large employers and health plans. The organizations are united in their shared goal of improving health care quality through measurement, reporting, rewards and education. Additional information is available at

About AHQA

AHQA is dedicated to improving the safety and effectiveness of health care. AHQA represents the national network of QIOs that work with hospitals, medical practices, longterm care facilities, home health agencies, health plans, pharmacists, and employers to encourage the spread of best clinical practices and improve systems of care delivery. QIOs are working in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories. Find your local QIO at:

Editor’s Note: The toolkit is available on both the AHQA and BTE websites: and

All rights reserved. BTE 2007.

Bridges to Excellence does not endorse any particular product or service or any physician or physician group.

Bridges to Excellence relies on third -party performance assessment organizations such as the NCQA and Quality Improvement Organizations to measure a physician or physician's group performance and ability to demonstrate that they meet certain measures of quality care.