By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Quality – it is an interesting word. When you hear the word quality it calls to mind images of the best in everything. In recent years quality has become a buzzword in health care. After all, if some blood test or medication or decision to not have a blood test or prescribe a medication adds to quality of care, it is a great thing.

But, more and more, the way that doctors and hospitals are being compensated for care is based on quality. Again, in theory, this is great. After all, if you can link performance and quality with payment, the patients will benefit.

Here is where we need to be careful. Quality is increasingly being linked with saving money. Again, this is not a bad thing if the quality of care and costs savings go hand in hand. But consumers and health care providers need to watch carefully that quality is not replaced by saving money or extra costs associated with paperwork to defend quality.

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