On Monday, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives sent a letter to CMS expressing concern about hospitals' readiness to report clinical quality measures through electronic health record systems, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 1/28).
In December 2012, CMS published a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on hospitals' readiness to use EHR systems to submit reports on clinical quality measures.
CMS said it wants hospitals to be able to use the same certified EHR technology to attest to meaningful use and report patient-level data under the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
By facilitating the use of EHR systems for reporting quality measures, the agency hopes to:
- Streamline quality reporting;
- Reduce hospitals' administrative burdens; and
- Establish a single set of electronic specifications for clinical quality measures under multiple reporting programs (iHealthBeat, 1/3).
In its letter, CHIME praised federal officials' efforts to harmonize electronic clinical quality measurement and align multiple reporting programs.
CMS also applauded CMS for establishing a pilot program that allows hospitals to submit clinical quality data electronically as part of the meaningful use program (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 1/28).
However, CHIME wrote that existing workflow and technology challenges would make it difficult to accurately and completely report quality data through EHR systems. The organization wrote, "[I]t has been the experience of our members that without making the entire [EHR] structured, discreet data or having mature text recognition software in place, one cannot extract all the data needed on every patient to create accurate quality metrics."
CHIME called for CMS to broaden its electronic clinical quality reporting pilot program to more hospitals and use the results to better evaluate hospital and vendor readiness to report quality measures via EHR systems.
In addition, CHIME recommended that policymakers and regulators take bold steps to establish a standard approach to electronic quality measure reporting (Healthcare IT News, 1/28).