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Data-driven Quality Improvement: MSU Joins "MQIC"

June, 2004

MSU has reached another milestone reflecting its commitment to health care quality. The University is now a member of the Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC), a GE Healthcare data consortium.

MQIC is comprised of provider groups who have taken a leadership position by investing in and implementing state-of-the-art clinical information systems for ambulatory care. MQIC members seek even greater value from these investments in pursuit of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended quality goals: to achieve measurable improvements in quality and the reduction of errors and inconsistencies. To accomplish this, MQIC members pool their knowledge and data into a data warehouse maintained by GE Healthcare, in a HIPAA-compliant manner that strictly protects the privacy of patients and physicians, in order to create a powerful resource for quality measurement and improvement.

Membership in MQIC gives the MSU community specific benefits, including:

  • Access to anonymous, patient de-identified, pooled data for research and quality improvement purposes

  • Summary reports and information about patterns of care for clinics, providers, and patients

  • The ability to measure practice and physician performance and benchmark it against the aggregated pool of patient de-identified data

  • Resources for research (quality, patient safety) and EMR enhancements to improve healthcare delivery and the health of the population

  • A health information infrastructure that can enhance MSU investigator application competitiveness for external research funding

A MQIC Advisory Board oversees the gathering, storage, integrity and appropriate use of de-identified patient information. State-of-the-art technologies are used to extract and de-identify data before it is transmitted over secure channels to the national data warehouse. No patient-specific information ever leaves any MQIC member institution.

Approval followed more than a year of diligent work by representatives from GE Healthcare, MSU EMR program leadership, MSU HealthTeam and University administration leadership (including the Office of the General Council, OVPRGS, and UCRIHS). This effort contributed to a strong yet flexible agreement that will also help other universities working to develop an agreement enabling them to join MQIC.

Yes! One of the fruits of the work above was the ability to confirm that the MQIC data base qualified as "an approved public data file." It is UCRIHS policy that research, which only involves secondary analysis of pre-approved public data files, does not require IRB approval. This will make it much easier for MSU researchers to use the data in their scholarly works. For more information, please visit the UCRIHS web site.

- M. Zaroukian, MD, PhD
EMR Medical Director