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CHIME: Health IT Quality Measurement Initiatives Need Consistency

August 23, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently submitted comments to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), extolling its work to advance health information technology-enabled quality measurement, while urging it to focus its research on developing a "road map” that allows for consistency.

“The accurate reporting of electronic quality measures is one of the most daunting challenges faced by providers today,” the CHIME letter to AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy said.  “Through our experiences with Meaningful Use and other quality reporting programs, we found that although EHR products were able to automatically produce CQM reports, the data was inaccurate, inconsistent and largely incomparable across different providers.”

A recent AHRQ-funded environmental study found that there are over seventy initiatives, spanning federal state and private-sector programs, aimed at realizing potential benefits of health IT-enabled quality measurement.  CHIME argues that most these initiatives are not harmonized, even within the same federal agency.  This, the organization says, has serious implications for provider workflows, resources and diminishes many of the gains sought by quality improvement proponents.

“CHIME has long advocated and commended efforts that strive towards harmonization among CQM reporting across all HHS agencies and programs,” Jeffrey Smith, assistant director of Advocacy for CHIME, said in a statement.  “However, we believe such harmonization must extend through (1) the specific CQM, (2) how the CQM is reported, and (3) to whom it is reported.”

CHIME says while complete automation is a laudable goal, it believes the more pressing need is to make incremental advancements and disseminate best practices in the near-term. CHIME’s comment letter to AHRQ can be read here.

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