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NCQA, RWJF Create Analytics-Based Tool for Population Health

April 9, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are creating a tool that will aim to measure heart disease and stroke risk factors, drawing on clinical information within electronic health record (EHR) systems.

The measurement tool, the “Global Cardiovascular Risk” (GCVR) score, will be based on technology from Archimedes, Inc., a healthcare modeling and analytics company based in San Francisco. Using clinical data, NCQA and RWJF say they will be able to help providers reduce the risk of future adverse outcomes such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetic complications for the populations they serve.

 “This new tool has the potential to become the first customized, outcomes-based electronic health record measure used by Medicare and commercial payers,” NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane, said in a statement. “Its widespread adoption could have a profound impact on health care costs because it assesses how well providers engage in prevention and goal-setting for their high-risk patients. We believe it could become the new gold standard of quality measurement, replacing some traditional measures that have been the cornerstone of quality improvement for years.”

According to NCQA, the GCVR will measure how much patients’ risk of future adverse health outcomes have been reduced. This is in contrast to a traditional approach which has focused on processes of care, and reaching clinically artificial treatment goals for biomarkers. The GCVR is a single metric that captures what every provider can do to prevent adverse outcomes.

 “The GCVR program will change how providers, patients, and payers think about the measurement of quality and will provide much more accurate and effective incentives for preventing adverse outcomes than has been possible in the past,” David Eddy, M.D., Ph.D., founder of Archimedes Inc., said in a statement. “Preventing bad outcomes is the ultimate purpose of the health care system, and this measure will directly address that goal. And because bad outcomes cause expensive admissions, tests, and procedures, this new measure will be more effective in controlling costs, at the same time that it helps improve patients’ lives.”

NCQA will evaluate the feasibility of extracting the electronic health data needed to calculate the score using various pilot data from health systems and health plans across the country. It is now in the process of recruiting organizations to participate.

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