ACP: EHRs critical to effective reporting of quality measures

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Increasing the use of quality measurement as part of EHR systems is critical to achieving meaningful use of health IT and would allow for a more complete reflection of care processes and patient outcomes, the American College of Physicians (ACP) reported at its annual meeting in Toronto.

“In order for an EHR-based quality measurement and reporting program to engage all healthcare stakeholders, it must use clinically relevant measures, accurate and trusted by a full range of stakeholders, particularly patients, physicians and other healthcare providers,” ACP stated.

ACP said it supports the commitment of the HIT Standards Committee, the National Quality Forum (NQF), the NQF Health IT Expert Panel (HITEP), Health IT Standards Panel (HITSP) and others to develop unified standards for structured, codified data elements, calculation logic, measure structure and reporting structure for quality measures as their development “requires concerted and consistent input from all healthcare stakeholders.”

To take full advantage of the benefits that EHRs could offer for quality measurement and reporting procedures, ACP made the following recommendations:

  • Data to support EHR-based quality measurement and reporting should rely on information routinely collected during the course of providing clinical care, including relevant data supplied by patients.
  • EHR-based quality measurement should begin with the goal of facilitating the real-time collection of data that support the effective use of point-of-care clinical decision support algorithms.
  • EHR-based quality measurement and reporting must not increase administrative work and/or impose uncompensated financial costs on physicians and other healthcare providers, healthcare organizations or patients.
  • Data elements that comprise quality measure data sets should be defined in a standard way to enable health IT developers to implement them effectively.

“Physicians using EHRs for effective quality measurement face significant implementation barriers. The challenge to making this happen is ensuring that EHRs are capable of reporting clinical outcomes and measures, and that physician offices have the necessary financial and workforce resources,” concluded Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, president of the Philadelphia-based ACP. “However, the benefits that improved quality measurement could have for patient care would be tremendous.”