CMS: EHRs will simplify quality reporting soon

Within, perhaps, three to four years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is anticipating that hospitals no longer will need to abstract manually from their electronic health records (EHRs) quality measures that are required under the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program.

In a new Federal Register notice, CMS said that it sees the automatic collection and reporting of data through EHRs simplifying and streamlining reporting for various CMS quality reporting programs. And, at a future date--perhaps by fiscal 2015--hospitals will be able to "switch solely to EHR-based reporting of data" that are currently abstracted from patient charts and submitted to CMS.

The comments were made as part of a proposed rule from CMS that calls for changing the hospital inpatient payment system and long-term care prospective payment system for fiscal 2012.

CMS acknowledges that considerable work needs to be done by measure owners and developers to make this work with the proposed clinical quality measures, reports Health Data Management. That would include completing electronic specifications for measures, pilot testing, reliability and validity testing, and implementing specifications into EHR technology to capture and calculate the results.

In the long run, CMS says it is seeking to "limit the number of chart-abstracted measures and order to facilitate the transition to EHR-based reporting."

CMS is inviting public comment on the new quality measures.

For more details:
- see the Federal Register notice (.pdf)
- view the Health Data Management article