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CMS Seeks Hospitals, Vendors for EHR-based Quality Data Submission

Lisa Eramo, for HealthLeaders Media, August 27, 2009

Providers have an opportunity to participate in a pilot program to test EHR clinical quality data submission, according to CMS' fiscal year 2010 IPPS final rule.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology are working together to harmonize standards for EHR-based submission of ED throughput measures, stroke measures, and venous thromboembolism measures. Each measure has the endorsement of the National Quality Forum and the Reporting Hospital Quality Data for Annual Payment Update (RHQDAPU).

CMS expects to finalize interoperable standards for EHR-based submission of these measures later this year. The agency seeks EHR vendors and hospitals to develop and test data submission and will accept nominations until 6 p.m. EST, December 31, 2009.

The ability to submit quality measures electronically may help providers meet meaningful use requirements, says Kelly McLendon, RHIA. McLendon, president of Health Information Xperts in Titusville, FL, adds that this is a prerequisite to EHR incentives pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

CMS acknowledges in its final rule that "the RHQDAPU program and the HITECH Act have important areas of overlap and synergy with respect to the reporting of quality measures using EHRs." The agency hopes the incentives will encourage use of certified EHRs to report clinical quality measures pursuant to RHQDAPU and also provide a foundation for hospitals to send and receive quality measures for future RHQDAPU program measures.

The ability to submit quality measures electronically also would be a big timesaver, says Marianne Dailey, RHIT, CHP, CPHQ, director of HIM and privacy officer for Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, AK. "A more automated process would be great to work toward," she says.

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