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Primary care physician groups rated on preventive care in new report

Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, a non-profit organization that has tracked physician performance for 8 years, released its latest ratings of physician practices on Thursday. The report shows how well primary care doctors do at providing their patients with preventive care, such as colon cancer screening, and treating chronic disease care such as diabetes.

The group found that Massachusetts primary care physicians continue to provide high-quality care overall, although notable differences in quality exist.

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Some highlights:

* Colorectal cancer screening rates have improved by 9 percentage points over the last four years, with 78 percent of patients who should be screened getting the appropriate tests, up from 69 percent.

* Statewide, an imaging study was used appropriately to diagnose low back pain 78 percent of the time. However, there was variation of 40 percentage points between the lowest ranking providers (51 percent) and the highest (91 percent).

* About three-quarters of adolescents overall get well care visits but the rates varied by 50 percentage points across different doctors’ groups.

Liz Kowalczyk can be reached at
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