New CMS tool supports clinician-friendly app development

A new online tool from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues its push to facilitate data sharing in the Medicare Quality Payment Program.

The application program interface (API) will be the next step in bridging the gap between practicing clinicians and the data collected and maintained in the Quality Payment Program, the CMS said in an announcement.

Andy Slavitt, acting administrator at the CMS, acknowledged the challenges quality reporting presents to practices, and the need to ensure that the move from a volume-based payment system to a quality-based one does not present an undue administrative burden on physicians. “An important part of the Quality Payment Program is to make it easier and less expensive to participate, so clinicians may focus on seeing patients,” he said in a statement.

The release of the API represents an intermediate step in this process, however. By simplifying and opening up access to its data, the CMS provides software developers and its technological partners a powerful tool with which to build the applications practices and clinicians will use both to report quality data and to use data to help determine best practices, according to the release.

American College of Physicians (ACP) President Nitin S. Damle, M.D., said the group supports CMS’ efforts to facilitate doctors’ participation in the Quality Payment Program. “These efforts are aligned with ACP’s ongoing efforts to help equip physicians with tools and support needed to transform from volume-based, to value-based, patient-centered care,” he said.

Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, also sees benefits for consumers in the API approach, since the technology makes it equally possible for developers to produce user-friendly applications for patients based upon the same data. That would further generate potential for improving outcomes, benefiting patients and physicians alike, she said.