Quality reporting alignment on the way

December 31, 2012 in Medical Technology

Certified electronic health records will make it easier for providers to report clinical quality measures not only for meaningful use but also for other federal programs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to align some of those measures.

CMS wants to hear from hospitals and health IT vendors about their readiness to electronically report certain patient data under the agency’s quality reporting program using a standard document format, according to a Dec. 28 CMS request for information in the Federal Register. Comments are due on Jan. 22, 2013.

To be ready, vendors and hospitals would need to be able to meet the criteria for reporting clinical quality measures electronically under the EHR Incentive Program final rule for meaningful use Stage 2.

[See also: CHIME pushes for untangling of quality reporting.]

CMS wants to reduce the burden and increase the efficiency of collecting and submitting patient-level data on clinical quality measures and is exploring how hospitals might be able to report the data on a subset of the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program using certified EHRs.

Hospitals would use the Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) Category 1, a Health Level 7 standard to communicate clinical quality measures.

CMS plans to streamline reporting programs through automatic collection and reporting of data on clinical quality measures, which are coordinated for both the Hospital IQR and EHR Incentive programs, through the use of certified EHRs.

Data from the Hospital IQR program aims to equip patients with hospital quality of care information so they can make decisions about healthcare options. The data is available to consumers through the Hospital Compare website.

[See also: CMS to align two quality reporting programs.]

A single set of electronic specifications for clinical quality measures would serve multiple quality reporting programs. CMS will also adopt data standards to enable hospitals to capture, transmit and format data elements consistently.

In the final rule for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, CMS said it would align quality measurement and reporting programs, including the Hospital IQR, Physician Quality Reporting System, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model.

“We envisage that hospitals will be able to switch primarily to EHR-based reporting of clinical quality data for many measures that are currently manually chart-abstracted and submitted to CMS,” officials wrote in the announcement.

Among the questions CMS asked are:

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