CDC: Electronic Quality Data ‘Invaluable’ To Tracking Public Health

May 8, 2015 in News

Electronic clinical quality measures derived from electronic health records will be “invaluable” to clinical condition monitoring, according to a CDC Morbidly and Mortality Weekly Report published earlier this month, FierceEMR reports.

Report Details

The report analyzes data from eCQMs gathered through the meaningful use program. Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Specifically, researchers looked at the data to determine whether progress has been made in efforts to control patients’ blood pressures.

Report Findings

According to the report, 62% of patients achieved controlled blood pressure throughout all three meaningful use reporting years.

Meanwhile, the data showed that at least one-third of the patients met the goals of HHS’ Million Hearts program, which encourages providers to achieve a minimum of 70% of their hypertension patients to have control of their blood pressures.

The report authors noted that the results show “the potential for [eCQM] reporting to be used for monitoring population health.” The report noted that state and local public health agencies could maintain appropriate patient privacy protections, while partnering with various entities “to explore the use of existing EHR data for surveillance,” including:

  • Health information exchanges;
  • Health systems;
  • Primary care associations; and
  • State Medicaid programs.

The authors concluded that as EHR adoption grows, “the data collected by these systems will be invaluable for monitoring numerous clinical conditions.”

Meanwhile, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT CMO Thomas Mason and Million Hearts Executive Director Janet Wright wrote in a blog post that the report demonstrates “for the first time” that “data reported as part of the incentive programs, or meaningful use, could improve the timeliness and possibly completeness of data used to track issues of public health concern” (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 5/6).

However, they wrote that “eCQMs may not maximize the available data,” adding, “We still have work to do” to ensure eCQMs are “improving and enhancing” so that “health IT can use health data from a variety of sources” (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 5/1).

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