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The use of technology, such as electronic health records and other data gathering tools, has proven critical in the second phase of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program.
For the program, contract recipients work with providers and communities through Quality Innovation Networks (QIN-QIOs), which address strategies for quality concerns, including readmissions reduction, hospital-acquired infections and medication errors. According to a 2015 progress report published in April, participating organizations were able to save more than $9.4 million while also preventing thousands of improper early discharges.
At the Telligen QIN-QIO, which serves Colorado, Illinois and Iowa, technology helped improve medication reconciliation, according to QIO News. There, staffers developed an online tool that evaluated reconciliation processes at a community level. Using that information, a score was created for each process; feedback was then given to providers in need of guidance. More than 440 potential adverse drug events have been prevented thanks to the tool, according to QIO News.
Meanwhile, at the HealthInsight QIN-QIO, which serves Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah, the importance of regular EHR reviews and improved documentation has come into focus in the wake of varied blood pressure control rates recorded within a multi-site clinic group, the article points out. An observational study determined there to be “inconsistencies” with interpretation and documentation of follow-up blood pressure readings for patients with uncontrolled hypertension. In response, the clinics started offering training geared toward tightening up EHR documentation practices.
Jean Moody-Williams, deputy director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, called engaging with clinicians and patients key to development of the final QIO program, in an interview for QIO News. New technology development partners, she said, could help “level the playing field,” which then could lead to improved care.