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Tag Archive | "Health Reform"

NQF: The Role of Health Information Technology in Quality Improvement

On June 17, 2010, the National Quality Forum (NQF) hosted a webinar focused on the intersection of health information technology (HIT) and quality improvement.

Dr. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD, Director of Medical Informatics at Regenstrief Institute, reviewed the goal of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) to improve care and the efficiency of care. He stated that the key to HITECH is the definition of “meaningful use.”  He reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is close to issuing its final rule that will establish the definition of meaningful use. He speculated that the Agency will soften the definition of meaningful use in the final rule, but that the proposed and final rules will be very similar. He stated that the Agency’s goals in 2010 are data capture and sharing.  In 2013, the goal is increased data use to improve the quality of care and in 2015 CMS intends to focus on substantially improving outcomes for patients.

Dr. Overhage described the incentives established in HITECH to encourage physicians to become meaningful users of EHRs.  He stated that the EHR adoption timeline is constructed in a graduated incentive model and that the Federal government hopes that many providers will adopt EHRs early.  He noted that if providers become meaningful user in 2011 and 2012, they will receive the full incentive payment.

He highlighted the connection between the National Priorities Partnership priorities and the health outcomes policy priorities established in HITECH. He reported that patient and family engagement, population health, safety, and care coordination were common themes. The National Priorities Partnership also identified palliative and end-of-life care and overuse as additional priorities.

Dr. Overhage shared that Regenstrief has established a Quality Health First® Program that uses HIT to drive performance measurement and quality improvement. The program has incorporated a Medicare demonstration program, which allows Medicare providers to participate along commercial providers and provide incentives.  He explained that providers receive incentive payments based upon their own quality improvement, even if they are the worst performing among providers. In 2009, a 5 percent improvement in quality was reported across the 1,000 primary care providers.

He stated that NQF is convening the HIT and Quality Committees to: (1) help build the electronic infrastructure to help automate performance measurement; (2) encourage and harmonize information standards; (3) facilitate coordination between quality and HIT communities; and (4) establish quality measurement and clinical decision support to occur in simultaneous fashion.

NQF will host another webinar on July 16 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time focused on quality and leadership.

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