Wednesday, November 19, 2008

IHS Addressing Quality

The Indian Health Service (IHS) launched a new website to report on the quality of care provided to American Indian and Alaska Native patients. The VA and the Department of Defense along with IHS have identified a set of clinical performance measures to be made available through the site.

Each performance measure has been synchronized within the three agencies to the extent possible given the differences of the patient populations served. For 2008, the IHS is reporting on seven measures concerning diabetes, immunizations, pneumonia, asthma, and stroke. In 2009, two other immunizations and three cardiovascular disease-related measures will be added.

The website allows IHS patients to compare the performance of the IHS facility where they receive care to the performance of other IHS facilities within their geographical area. The site also includes 24 performance measures that the IHS reports annually to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress. Currently, these measures are reported only at the national level and are not comparable at the facility level.

In addition to the IHS performance measures, the website provides information to help patients advocate for their own healthcare. A checklist is available containing important items such as family history of disease, current medications, and immunizations and procedures that are received at other healthcare facilities. This information can then be discussed with the patient’s healthcare provider.

For more information, go to