AHA: Provider input 'crucial' in EHR design and testing

Responding to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's request for information from July about using IT for healthcare quality measurement, the American Hospital Association this week said it wants AHRQ to include the provider's "voice" in the design and testing of electronic health records.

In an eight-page letter to AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, Linda Fishman, senior vice president of public policy analysis and development with the AHA, said that electronic specifications for quality measures used in Meaningful Use have burdened providers and vendors due to re-tooling without adequate testing. Fishman said that "funding for 'learning laboratories' ... that build on the experience of providers using a variety of EHR platforms" could help to lessen that burden.

She added that stakeholders currently heavily invested in such efforts "have little reason to trust the data integrity" of CQMs from certified electronic health records.

"[W]e encourage AHRQ to work with all stakeholders to ensure that automated measures are valid, reliable and feasible to collect," Fishman said. "If automated quality measurement is to become widely used, it is more important to get a small number of measures right before moving on to more measures or moving too quickly."

In comments regarding the RFI last month, the College of healthcare Information Management Executives suggested that AHRQ focus on defining clear "next steps" for providers using health IT in quality measurement. CHIME also encouraged AHRQ to get other U.S. Department of Health & Human Services agencies on the same page to standardize reporting measures.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance, meanwhile, suggested that quality measurements be practice-specific to account for the fact that different medical specialties deal in different kinds of medical data.

The deadline for comments is today.

To learn more:
- read the letter (.pdf)


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