The QUEST for quality: what are medical groups doing about it?

Leif I. Solberg, Patrick J. O'Connor, Jon B. Christianson, Robin R. Whitebird, William A. Rush, Gail M. Amundson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: It is important to know whether medical groups have quality improvement (QI) priorities, approaches, activities, and congruence that will allow them to achieve major improvements in quality of care. METHODS: Simultaneous surveys were sent to medical and administrative leaders of 18 medical groups, 84 of their constituent clinics, and their primary care physicians providing the majority of the primary care in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. RESULTS: Of the 18 medical groups, 17 have an overall physician leader for QI and 11 have the same at each of their constituent clinics. Nearly 100% of clinic leaders report their group leaders see QI as important and expect clinics to improve care, while 69%-84% of their physicians report the clinic leaders are committed to QI for diabetes and heart disease. Diabetes and coronary heart disease are the priorities for improvement by 14 and 12 medical groups respectively. Only seven groups report adequate QI resources and only three report that incentives are aligned with quality. Intermediate groups generally appear to be just as active and supportive of QI as large ones. DISCUSSION: These medical groups and their constituent clinics and physicians appear ready to work on the issues raised by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). However, they believe that limited resources and financial incentives that are not aligned with quality constrain their ability to help America cross the quality chasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
JournalJoint Commission journal on quality and patient safety / Joint Commission Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project reported in this article was supported by grant #RO1HS09946 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality . The authors are grateful for assistance with data management and statistics from Kristin Pokela and A. Lauren Crain, Ph.D. They are also immensely grateful to the leaders and physicians from the medical groups who participated in this study for their cooperation and their willingness to share their opinions so openly—Camden Physicians, Ltd.; Fairview Lakes Regional; Fairview-Red Wing Clinic; Family Health Services Minnesota; Fairview Health Services, Fairview Clinics; HealthEast; HealthPartners; HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics; Park Nicollet; Lakeview Clinic, Ltd.; North Clinic; North Suburban Family Physicians; Northwest Family Physicians; Olmsted Medical Center; Quello Clinic, Ltd.; Regina Medical Center; Stillwater Medical Group, P.A.; Westside Community Health Center.


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