By: Kate Goodrich, M.D., M.H.S., Director, Center for Clinical Standards & Quality, CMS
At the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), we are working to build a health care delivery system that is better, smarter and healthier – a system that delivers improved care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and supports healthier communities. The use of health information technology (IT), such as electronic health records (EHR), and data are critical pieces in building this health care delivery system. Importantly, health IT can also support electronic clinical quality measurement, which allows for more timely access to richer clinical data sources, more rapid feedback for quality improvement, and reduced reporting burden for providers.
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are committed to ensuring health IT systems can support accurate, reliable, and robust reporting of quality measures. To help achieve that goal, CMS, in partnership with ONC, issued a Request for Information (RFI) today entitled Certification Frequency and Requirements for the Reporting of Quality Measures under CMS Programs, available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/31/2015-32931/agency-information-collection-activities-proposals-submissions-and-approvals-certification-frequency. The RFI provides CMS and ONC with an opportunity to assess policy options that could improve the effectiveness of the certification of health IT and specifically the certification and testing of EHR products used for the reporting of quality measures. We aim to streamline/reduce provider, hospital, and health IT developer burden.
CMS and ONC request feedback on how often to require recertification, the number of clinical quality measures to which a certified Health IT Module should be certified, and ways to improve testing of certified Health IT Module(s). The feedback received will inform CMS and ONC of elements that may need to be considered for certification and testing policies and other policies relating to the use of health IT to report quality measures that may be included in the upcoming rulemaking process for CMS quality programs.
We are working diligently to improve the means for information exchange and electronic data sharing across and among providers and health systems, increase opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback, and enhance mechanisms for the capturing of clinical information in EHRs, registries, and other systems to assist with quality reporting and care coordination.
The RFI now has a 45-day comment period with comments due February 16, 2016 https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/02/02/2016-01937/requests-for-information-certification-frequency-and-requirements-for-the-reporting-of-quality. Please review the RFI for instructions on how to submit comments. We want to hear from you and value all input received from our stakeholders.