Quality of Quality Measures Improving

popHealth Automates Reporting of Meaningful Use

One of the most difficulty aspects of ONC Certification for EHR vendors has been meeting the requirement to “Calculate and Submit Clinical Quality Measures”. I have worked with well over 100 vendors on their certification projects and without a doubt this is usually the most difficult new functionality that must be developed for meaningful use. First they have to figure out what Quality Measures are all about. Then they have to understand the complex relationship of patient demographics, encounters, data elements, and numerous if/then/maybe/yes/no branching logic steps to possibly arrive at what they hope are accurately calculated numerators and denominators (more or less). And, let’s not forget about possible exclusions that might require some patients to be excluded from the target population. Not too many people really understand all this and those that do are usually not developers.

I feel sorry for the EHR vendors and the ONC-ATCB testers that have to review and test Quality Measures. There is a lot of fuzziness about all of this and even NIST in their Quality Measures test procedure throws up their hands and states: “the test procedure does not fully evaluate the correctness of the implemented algorithms or calculation of the quality measures based on Vendor test data”. So there you have it. Vendors do the best they can and then hold their breath during the test. Well, things are about to get much better for the EP EHR vendors and all the rest of us. Under the auspices of the ONC, open source software has been developed that “automates the reporting of Meaningful Use quality measures” for EPs. It is called popHealth and if you don’t know about it you will soon. The open source will allow vendors to incorporate the functionality into their systems. If you ask me, this is a pretty good use of tax dollars.

Jim Tate is author of The Incentive Roadmap® The Meaningful Use of Certified Technology: Stage 1. Version 3.0 now available for purchase.