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More Hospitals are Voluntarily Submitting eCQM Data, Report Finds

November 9, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The number of U.S. hospitals that voluntarily submitted eCQM (electronic clinical quality measure) data has increased significantly in the last year, according to the Joint Commission’s 2017 annual report.

The report found that 470 hospitals reported eCQM data in 2016, representing a significant increase from the 34 hospitals that voluntarily submitted eCQM data in 2015. In 2017, Joint Commission researchers expect that the number of reporting hospitals will increase to more than 2,000.

Since 2002, hospitals have been reporting data to Joint Commission as a requirement of accreditation. Through electronic clinical quality measures, hospitals can electronically collect and transmit data on the quality of care that patients receive—data that can be analyzed to measure and improve care processes, performances and outcomes. To this end, “Pioneers in Quality” is a Joint Commission program started in 2016 to assist hospitals on their journey toward eCQM adoption and reporting. Hospitals collect eCQM information through electronic health records (EHRs) and transmit the data to Joint Commission or to CMS (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

A total of 14 core measures were retired by Joint Commission and CMS following 2015 because performance was consistently very high; this year’s report documents 2016 performance on the remaining 15 different chart-abstracted accountability measures in seven measure sets. “Overall, this year’s report shows hospitals’ continued strong performance on these measures. While the data show impressive gains in hospital quality, improvements can still be made. Some hospitals perform better than others in treating particular conditions,” Joint Commission said.

What’s more, of these hospitals, 11 were named “solution contributors” by submitting a proven practice to Joint Commission’s proven practices collection, and nine achieved the status of “expert contributors” by advancing the evolution and use of eCQMs.

Two surveys on eCQMs conducted by Joint Commission found that awareness of eCQM reporting requirements is very high and most hospitals plan to report 2017 eCQM data to CMS. Indeed, compared to hospitals responding to the first survey conducted in spring 2016, hospitals participating in the second survey in fall 2016 revealed:

  • More willingness to report voluntarily
  • More confidence about the accuracy of their eCQM data
  • Increased perceived readiness to successfully submit eCQM data
  • Increased confidence in generating quality reporting document architecture (QRDA) Category 1 documents
  • The ability to submit using their own electronic health records (EHR) data

According to a letter from Joint Commission’s President and CEO, Mark R. Chassin, M.D., and its Executive Vice President, David W. Baker, M.D., “The data summarized in this report represents 17.3 million opportunities to provide evidence-based patient care, and performance continues to be outstanding. Because of the close link between these measures and patient outcomes, we can be confident that these measures are helping to drive quality improvement and lower patient morbidity and mortality.”

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