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Tracking and reporting quality measures cost four specialties—including primary care, cardiology, orthopedics, and “multispecialty”—$15.4 billion annually, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. One concern voiced by the authors is that standardization of quality measures is sorely lacking so, in effect, such measures may have little meaning to begin with. The data are based on surveys of 250 practices from each of the selected specialties. On average, physicians spend 2.6 hours per week on quality measures; the “bill” for those hours comes to $40,000 per physician per year. That does not include related work done by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or other staff members.

Are Quality Assessments Worth the Cost?