National Quality Forum fails to complete HHS IT projects on time

The General Accountability Office (GAO) is holding the National Quality Forum (NQF) to task for failing to complete several health IT-related projects on time for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), according to Nextgov.

In a new report, the GAO said that NQF--a non-profit contractor--did not meet its deadlines on five of eight projects promoting electronic health records (EHR). For instance, NQF in 2010 was tasked with converting existing quality measures to an electronic format ultimately to enable the exchange of data in EHRs. Although the deadline was September, NQF did not finish until December.

The failure to meet deadline was part of a trend with NQF, according to Nextgov, as it failed to meet 18 of 26 project deadlines as of this past August.

Despite such results, HHS said that some of the time frames set for completion were "overly ambitious" and called the technical challenges "greater than anticipated." HHS also modified NQF's scope of work on several occasions "to help ensure that ... costs did not exceed the amount HHS had obligated," according to the report.

The GAO called for testing of electronic versions of the converted measures to be completed "in a timely manner" to address errors and other implementation issues. It recommended that HHS use monitoring tools to track NQF's performance. HHS, according to GAO, failed to use available monitoring tools required by the contract it signed with NQF.

To learn more:
- read the Nextgov article
- here's the GAO report (.pdf)

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