From 2002 to 2005, staff from the Medical Society of New Jersey designed and tested the components of a physician-recognition/quality-improvement program (called the Alpha Project).
The purpose of the program was to encourage quality improvement by collecting clinical and practice-related data from physicians and providing them with feedback that compared their performance to that of their peers and to evidence-based standards of care.
The New Jersey program built on a similar initiative of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Medical Accreditation Program. The Alpha Project team planned to recruit New Jersey physicians who were already credentialed under the AMA program, which was discontinued in 2000.
The project team, with its partners, Medstat and STI Computer Services, designed and tested key features of the new physician-recognition program. These included:
- An updated environment-of-care survey, which assessed management policies, infection-control procedures and other safety features in physicians' offices.
- An electronic physician profile that combined environment-of-care assessments with information on the physician's clinical practices, including the "top 10" patient conditions and procedures.
- Technology and software to enable extraction of data from multiple sources to fill in the physician profile and produce a feedback report.