Cloud-based applications and distribution networks for the healthcare industry have long been software firm CECity’s forte. Now the company is taking an ambitious new step, having announced at the January Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions conference that it was partnering with the American College of Physicians to pilot a new platform that would give physicians the tools they need to take their performance- and quality-improvement efforts to a new level.

Called MedConcert, the cloud-based, multi-tenant platform offers a combination of social media-powered communities of practice, specialized apps, and practice-based learning and improvement initiatives designed to make it easier for physicians and their teams to measure performance and quality improvement, work more smoothly as a team, and ultimately improve patient care.

To get it rolling, ACP’s state chapters will undertake a diabetes pilot test. Among the apps the ACP internists and their practice teams will have available are ACP’s Medical Home Builder, an automatically populated Physician Quality Reporting System–based diabetes registry, patient survey tools, clinical registries, population health management and coordination-of-care applications, and a social networking community that will feel familiar to anyone who has used Facebook. Pilot program participants also will have access to pay-for-performance and recertification options.

Laura Lee Hall, PhD, director of the ACP’s Center for Quality, said, “This puts the power to monitor and improve performance in the hands of the physician.” The partnership is a part of a new push on the CFQ’s part to connect performance improvement to clinical and practice needs, workflow and practice efficiency, patient-health team communications, and interventions that improve patient health. The overall goal, she said, is to increase participation in QI initiatives that will have a measurable impact on patient care.

In a keynote address at the conference, Louis Diamond, MD, FACP, president of Quality Healthcare Consultants, spoke about the alignment of healthcare information technology with quality improvement, and how those in the continuing professional development field need to get involved in national QI and PI initiatives. Diamond, who also is an adviser to the MedConcert project, later said that he believes that this platform can facilitate communication among healthcare professionals and their care teams, and that it will improve learning by linking interventions to identified gaps in patient care—key drivers to move the profession from focusing on just measuring performance to actually improving it.

How It Works
MedConcert provides social networking tools physicians and other healthcare providers can use to build their communities of practice, which can span departments and teams. Secure, private messaging tools allow team members to share information and coordinate patient-centered care across disparate systems. Each person on the network also has a personal monitor that compares that person’s performance to national benchmarks and other measures to identify practice-based gaps. After assessing areas needing improvement, the system uses crowdsourcing and other means to provide links to appropriate interventions to close the gaps. Docs can also track their credentials, as well as their licensure and board certification status and requirements through apps.

On a system level, hospitals and health systems can coordinate care and monitor performance across departments and teams and with external providers. Provider organizations also can track performance across their networks and access apps that speak to their specific needs. Societies and associations can develop apps—including registries—to share in (and get a revenue share from) the MedConcert app store. Health plans, government, and other payers can use the platform to support new payment models such as accountable care organization (ACO), patient-centered medical home (PCMH), and pay-for-performance (P4P), according to materials supplied by CECity and ACP.

“Our goal is to connect healthcare professionals ‘across walls’ in a meaningful way to create communities of practice that enable care coordination, drive continuous performance improvement, and encourage lifelong learning,” said Simone Karp, RPh, co-founder and chief business officer of CECity.