Policy Committee Backs Patient Matching Plans, Mulls Quality Measures

On Wednesday, the Health IT Policy Committee approved recommendations designed to help accurately match patients with their data during health information exchange, Government Health IT reports.

The recommendations came from the privacy and security "Tiger Team" work group.

Committee members endorsed proposals to:

  • Direct the Health IT Standards Committee to recommend standardized formats for data fields;
  • Empower patients to access their information and identify inaccuracies;
  • Establish and disseminate best practices; and
  • Review data matching accuracy.

Deven McGraw -- chair of the Tiger Team and director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology -- said it is not possible to reach perfection in accurately matching patients with their data, citing situations where information might be incomplete and also a lack of research into best practices for patient data matching.

McGraw said, "We're looking for improvement" (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 2/3).

Discussion of Quality Standards

Also during the Policy Committee meeting, the quality measures work group discussed narrowing down to 30 or 40 measures the clinical quality measures recommendations for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program. Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

David Lansky -- co-chair of the quality measures work group and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health -- said the work group is working to put together quality measures recommendations based on several criteria, including:

  • The ability of measures to be used in a variety of health care settings;
  • Proof that the measures could help improve population health; and
  • Verification that the measures could be worked into EHR systems.

Lansky added that the work group aims to complete the process of selecting and validating the quality measures by the fourth quarter of 2010 for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program and by the fourth quarter of 2013 for Stage 3.

Meaningful Use Registration Grows

Meanwhile, National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal said 14,000 health care providers have registered to attest to meeting meaningful use criteria for at least three months.

Blumenthal said interoperability will be a key component to the success of the meaningful use program. He added, "It will be important to get feedback from meaningful users in Stage 1 to help lay the groundwork for Stage 2" (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 2/3).

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