A study
(full text $12) published in JAMA asks the question, "Do quality improvement
organizations (QIOs) improve the quality of hospital care for Medicare
beneficiaries?" The data says no. The study looked at 15 quality indicators for the treatment of atrial
fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia and
stroke in 5 states and Washington DC, from 1999 to 2001. The American Health Quality Association, responsible for managing the QIO program (to the tune of $400 million annually), refutes the findings.

AHQA officials criticized the JAMA report, saying it should not be used to evaluate the current QIO program because QIOs were "substantially revised" in 2002, Modern Physician reports.
QIO funding is now about $400 million annually, compared with about
$200 million when it was studied. Critics also said the results of the
report are inaccurate because it reviewed only 17 months out of a
36-month work period. AHQA noted that preliminary data from a
three-year, 32-state QIO-led program to improve surgical infection
prevention efforts have shown promising results.

To get a feel for the potential impact of pork, er, government funding on HIT, read this story in the Washington Times about AHQA's response to the JAMA study.

[Hat tip: iHealthBeat.org]