ONC quality measures workgroup wraps up, sets stage for transition

The Health IT Policy Committee's quality measures workgroup wrapped up its last meeting Aug. 12, noting how much it had has accomplished in the past four years, but looking forward to work left to be done as it transitions into the new Advanced Health Models and Meaningful Use workgroup.   

In its "wind up call," workgroup chair Helen Burstin, chief scientific officer of the National Quality Forum, reported that the policy committee accepted the workgroup's recommendations July 8 to utilize a two-track system for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use by continuing the traditional Meaningful Use electronic clinical quality measure (CQM) reporting pathway, while at the same time promoting innovative measurement and infrastructure building.  

However, a number of issues still need to be considered in the future, including:

  • More measure options to specialists
  • More quality measures focused on improving and documenting efficiency
  • Reducing providers' burdens
  • More scalability and "plug and play" measures
  • Standards in newer areas, such as long term and post-acute care and behavioral health

Workgroup members also discussed the need for clinical-data registries to be more patient-centered, not merely disease-centered, and that registries should provide feedback to providers so that they can makes change on a clinical level.

Michelle Consolazio, a health IT policy analyst with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, recommended that interested individuals apply to the new workgroups, including those not currently workgroup members, as ONC is willing to "gain additional perspective." Terry Cullen, co-chair agreed, noting that having "new blood" would be "very helpful."

The transition to the new workgroup will likely occur in September.

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo announced the restructuring of the workgroups in April, and of ONC overall in May, citing its changes in its focus beyond the Meaningful Use incentive program. Several members of Congress have questioned ONC regulatory authority.

To learn more:
- view the agenda and meeting materials