Buffalo Medical Group announced it is the first physicians group outside of northeast Ohio to join a Cleveland Clinic initiative to help independent doctors standardize care and improve quality.

More than 640 independent Cleveland-area physicians have joined the Quality Alliance, which also includes the clinic's 3,500 doctors. The partnership with Buffalo Medical Group, one of the area's largest medical groups, adds more than 100 primary care and specialty care physicians.

The program is aimed at using treatments for a host of conditions based on best available medical evidence, improving the consistency of that care and providing access to expertise and data to compare quality measures and results among a broad array of doctors.

For example, the Quality Alliance has developed a comprehensive process for measuring how well doctors comply with evidence-based treatments for such chronic diseases as diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure and hypertension, as well as for colon, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and childhood and adult immunization.

"This gives us an opportunity to look beyond ourselves and measure how we are doing against national benchmarks," said Dr. Irene Snow, medical director of Buffalo Medical Group.

BMG has more than 400,000 outpatient visits annually at its main locations in Buffalo, Amherst and Orchard Park, in addition to 20 satellite sites, officials said.

"The addition of the Buffalo Medical Group to the Quality Alliance underscores that other providers - regardless of whether they are located in northeast Ohio or elsewhere - understand the need for physicians to solve the value equation: How to provide the best care for our patients in the most cost-efficient manner," Dr. Tarek Elsawy, chief medical officer of the clinic's Quality Alliance, said in a statement.

"Health care is changing, especially reimbursement models, which will not be based on activity alone but on the quality and efficiency of that activity," he said. "Evidence shows that the continuous move toward performance-based care translates into better health for patients and a savings in healthcare dollars over time."