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From the June 1997 ACP Observer, copyright 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

Joint Commission releases proposed standards

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has made available its proposed standards for the 1998 accreditation of health care networks.

The draft standards are posted on the Joint Commission's Web site to give health care providers and purchases a chance to comment on the proposed revisions.

The proposed standards are based on input from surveys of networks, health plans, purchasers and consumers. It can be viewed at http://www.jcaho.org.

At the same time, the Joint Commission has published the "1997 Accreditation Manual for Preferred Provider Organizations," and in doing so, launched a new accreditation track for these health plans. For information on the accreditation manual, call 630-792-5000.

New HEDIS standards pan information systems

Health plan information management systems must evolve dramatically in order to support future quality improvement and performance measurement efforts, according to the latest version of the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The report, part of HEDIS 3.0, examines barriers to an efficient health care information framework. It also describes how health plans can upgrade their computer systems. Researchers concluded that most information systems were designed as claims or billing systems and cannot support quality improvement and performance measurement efforts.

The NCQA has also released audit standards to verify that health plans are complying with HEDIS 3.0. These standards will allow employers and consumers to compare HEDIS results from health plans.

HEDIS is a set of 71 performance indicators that include measures on cancer, heart disease, and other health concerns. Each year more than 100 health plans submit their HEDIS data for an audit, typically in response to requests from employers, purchasers or business coalitions that want to compare different health plans. Information: 800-839-6487.

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