Quality reporting is a difficult balance

February 7, 2014 in Medical Technology

For a physician practice or a hospital to improve patient outcomes, they must effectively measure the quality of care they provide — and use that measurement to effect the changes necessary to improve it.

Beyond better care, of course, measuring quality and sharing data on those outcomes with public and private payers can also result in increased revenue through pay for performance incentive programs.

But physicians and hospitals struggle to identify which measures most effectively impact improved quality of care, while navigating a complex landscape of public policy compliance, payer incentives and internal priorities.

On Sunday, Feb. 23, at a pre-conference symposium at the 2014 HIMSS Annual Conference Exhibition, quality measure developers from the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services; physicians on the cutting edge of quality improvement strategies and other industry leaders will discuss how physicians and hospitals can best achieve improved quality outcomes in this complex environment.

The symposium, Keeping the Delicate Quality Measurement Ecosystem in Balance, will run from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in room 208C of the Orange County Convention Center. Its keynote speakers will be CMS Director of Quality Measurement and Health Assessment, Kate Goodrich, MD, and new National Quality Forum Director Christine Cassell, MD.

Both will discuss the changing quality measurement landscape and why it is important for caregivers to participate in the measurement process. The symposium will also feature discussion around cutting edge strategies for using health IT to improve quality outcomes.

“As result of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and providers that choose to report quality measures from electronic health records to CMS can report on the same measure sets for both meaningful use and Physician Quality Reporting System (for providers), and Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (for hospitals) incentives,” said Jonathan French, director of healthcare information systems at HIMSS.

“Also, those doctors and hospitals will have their quality scores posted on PhysicianCompare.gov and HospitalCompare.gov, CMS websites that allow healthcare consumers to use the quality scores of doctors and hospitals to make decisions about where to receive care,” said French. “With pay for performance becoming a more prevalent payment model, understanding all the potential pieces of quality improvement is more important than ever.”

The critical factor for success is to ensure that the value derived from quality measurement – additional revenue, decreased costs, and improved outcomes – is not outweighed by the burden of compliance, he said. There are opportunities for providers to engage with policymakers, measure developers, and vendors to share their experiences and challenges with balancing the needs of their patient population with national initiatives.

“It is a challenging time for physicians and hospitals,” said French. “Understanding how to engage in the quality space can help you and your organization be prepared for the changes ahead.”

[See also: Quality reporting an essential piece of IT equation]

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