are too many quality measures and providers to spend
too much time reporting on them, according to a government watchdog report. T he
Government Accountability Office (GAO) urged the Department of Health and Human
Services to develop more meaningful quality measures and to prioritize the
development of electronic quality measures.
Electronic quality measures allow providers to report data elements digitally
through information collected on electronic health records. The HHS concurred
with the GAO's recommendations, the report said.
Recommendations in the GAO report are meant to reduce
administrative requirements for providers, who must often spend time collecting
and reporting on different quality measures for a variety of public and private
payers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and private insurers
use data collected from quality measure reporting
encourage better patient outcomes and more efficient use of financial
resources. However, payers sometimes mandate providers' collection of
information on conflicting quality measures, and this misalignment could create
administrative burdens for providers.
A hospital industry executive pushed back against the call
to rely more heavily on electronic quality measures. Nancy Foster, vice
president of quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital
Association (AHA), told me
electronic quality measures
are problematic for providers. A major problem with using them is clinicians
record needed data in different fields in the digital form, which makes it
difficult for medical record abstractors to obtain and record the information
they need to report, Foster said.
Clinicians also use different wording and/or language to record data needed for reporting on the quality measures, Foster told me. The lack of consistent language also makes it difficult for medical record abstractors to get the information they need. Electronic health records will need to be changed to better cull information from them for quality measures, Foster explained to me.
My full story includes more details about the GAO report and Foster’s reaction to it.
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