ACP prepares to launch pilot phase of national data project: Improving Wisely Quality Collaborative

Learn more at the AVLS Congress!

By: Dr. Margaret Mann & Dr. Marlin Schul

As we know, at the center of our care is our patients, supported by data, and best practices.  Here at the College, we are pleased to report that “all systems are go” for the October launch of the pilot phase of our new nationwide quality initiative, Improving Wisely.

With significant input from the AVLS, the Improving Wisely Quality Collaborative team at Johns Hopkins University is now doing a deep analysis of Medicare claims data, specifically around venous ablation procedures.

Using National Provider Identification, or NPI numbers, the  Improving Wisely project will analyze the claims data of all providers nationally with regard to predetermined vein care metrics.  In October, AVLS members will receive a personal and confidential data report notification from the AVLS offices in Chicago.  The specific metric that is being used for our pilot phase is:  average number of venous procedures per patient by physician.

In an envelope that has the AVLS logo on it, and the words Improving Wisely Quality  Collaborative, AVLS members will start to receive their individual data report notifications in mid to late October via mail.   This report is a personal, confidential report for each provider billing for the procedures, showing their data and what the national benchmarking data shows.  Only Johns Hopkins will keep the overall database, not the AVLS.  Your data report will give you an opportunity to see where you are in regards to national averages.  To assist any AVLS member with questions on their report, the AVLS has formed a small Improving Wisely Physician Engagement Council.  Chaired by Dr. Margaret Mann, the Council is able to assist or provide resources to any member who wants to review their results.  The Physician Engagement Council  and AVLS do not have access to individual data, so rest assured your data is strictly confidential.  In the context of sharing data for quality improvement, these results are not legally discoverable and have no implications for board certification, membership, or any other credentialing.  It is imperative that all of us see this a learning opportunity.  This in no way is a punitive exercise, and in fact, other medical specialties that have used Improving Wisely have had very positive feedback from providers.

In 2019, the next phase of the project will be to repeat the same analysis, to see if trends have changed.  Other medical specialties that have used the Improving Wisely algorithm have found that just knowing where you are can be a helpful tool to standardize care.


OK, great! What do I need to do now?  Be on the lookout for your special envelope with your data report in mid to late October.  The AVLS will send out an email alerting membership when the reports are leaving Chicago.

This sounds interesting.  Is there a way I can see the national data?   On Friday, November 9th, at the AVLS Congress, Dr.  Mann and the Johns Hopkins team will be presenting an analysis on the overall national data.  A paper will also be drafted  for publication, that will report national results.

I’m going to Congress.  Can I set up a private meeting with the Physician Engagement Council to go over my results?   Yes, we are setting that up and any AVLS member who wants to discuss their results may arrange a private meeting. 

The College is delighted to launch this project, and it represents one of our major investments in 2018-2019.  We know this effort will put the College and our members at the forefront of evidence-based vein care.

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