"In particular, we see some very impressive results...in one of the greatest health threats in the country, obesity," O'Kane said.
One obesity measure, which NCQA introduced in 2009 to the HEDIS survey, scores the percentage of a physician's adult patients who during their office visit got a body mass index assessment.
"This is important because solving the obesity crisis starts with clinicians paying attention to it. If a doctor doesn't care about your BMI, why should you? That's what people might think if their doctor doesn't say anything to them; they assume they're okay," O'Kane said.
Happily, she added, "There's been tremendous improvement...which means that we're bringing this issue into focus in doctor's offices." Years from now, some overweight or obese people will have lost pounds and avoided disease because their doctor paid attention during the office visit, she said.
Between 2009 and 2011, adults who had an outpatient visit and whose doctor documented their BMI increased from 41.3% to 55.4% for commercial HMOs, from 15.7% to 26.3% for commercial PPOs, and from 38.8% to 68.2% for Medicare HMOs and from 24.1% to 62.2% for Medicare PPOs.