25 for 25: A series of 25 blog posts marking NCQA’s 25th anniversary. As part of our anniversary celebrations, NCQA will post a series of 25 blog posts highlighting milestones in our 25 years of improving health care quality.
Thinking small can be a virtue… at least when it comes to promoting health care quality.
We realized early in our history that the high-level information we had about health plan quality couldn’t answer what is often consumers’ main question: “Which doctor is right for me?” In 1997, we partnered with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to launch the first recognition program for individual providers and medical groups that provide diabetes care. The program’s goal was to guide diabetics to providers who could demonstrate that they followed important protocols related to controlling blood sugar, conducting eye exams, monitoring nephropathy and other aspects of managing diabetes.
The program was an immediate hit. Over the next few years, it drew national attention and attracted thousands of providers seeking recognition. Nearly 2,000 people a month visited the NCQA or ADA Web site seeking a referral to a recognized provider. One member of Congress commented that she expected the program to “raise the standard of [diabetes] care across the board.” In subsequent years, it’s done just that.
In 2002, NCQA took over day-to-day management of the diabetes recognition program from the ADA. This was a milestone for NCQA and set the stage for other provider-level programs—including heart/stroke care, back pain, patient-centered medical homes and specialty care—that have followed.
Our successful collaboration with the ADA in diabetes care helped make these other programs possible. NCQA’s Recognition programs have helped tens of thousands of people—perhaps hundreds of thousands—find providers who suit their needs.
A cornerstone of NCQA’s 25th anniversary year will include a look ahead through the eyes of tomorrow’s leaders. This November 9, NCQA will convene Quality Talks: Inspiring the Future of American Health Care, a “TED-style” symposium held at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, DC. bringing together hundreds of health care and public policy professionals, including government regulators, thought leaders and Congressional staff.