CMS releases updated clinical quality measures

Many hospitals and providers feel that meeting meaningful use standards is more challenging than it should be. To help make the process run smoother, all facilities and practices that are eligible for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs will have to monitor their electronic clinical quality reporting programs. Keeping track of programs like the Physician Quality Reporting System is crucial for health professionals who are trying to adhere to meaningful use standards. 

CMS updates quality measures 
The annual update for the 2014 electronic clinical quality measures was recently released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for providers who will need to use the information to successfully report 2016 quality data electronically while participating in the CMS' quality reporting programs. There are three programs, including the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, EHR Incentive Programs and the PQRS.

The CMS updated the quality measures, as it does every year, to ensure that the modern guidelines and coding systems work efficiently with the specifications of the quality measures. As the health care industry changes, it is essential that the measures continue to stay relevant and actionable in current health settings. 

William O'Byrne, executive director of NJ-HITEC, recently spoke with EHR Intelligence to explain the PQRS data registry. The registry assists providers in submitting necessary information to reach meaningful use provisions and pay-for-value measures. 

"In the past, payment structures have always been based on the number of services that physicians provide. If they do 20 things in one appointment, then they get paid for 20 different things or they get a bundled payment," O'Byrne told the news source. "CMS has decided and are now implementing a whole new way of paying doctors and hospitals for healthcare. It's called Pay for Value. No longer will doctors be paid for adding up many different things they did during a visit."

O'Byrne added that physicians will now have to monitor clinical quality measures, or PQRSs. They must show that there is a change in clinical quality measures, one that suggests improvements have been made. Instead of being paid for individual terms, they will get financial incentives for value. The CMS officials will have the ability to see how well physicians are delivering health care with the information they receive from the registry. 

Available resources for eligible providers
The CMS has updated its website so that it contains 64 new measures for eligible clinicians who want to keep track of the updated clinical quality measures. There are also 29 updated measures for eligible hospitals. To respecify all of the 2015 updated measure specifications, the federal agency used a QDM 4.1.2 based-HQMF version R 2.1. 

Health professionals who want to access the clinical quality measures for the 2014 EHR Incentive Programs can refer to the CMS' document that touches on additional information on each quality measure. Similarly, EHR Intelligence recommended that providers who are in need of guidance on implementing the May 2015 electronic clinical quality measure specifications use the CMS Electronic Clinical Quality Measure Logic and Implementation Guidance for assistance.

This document is an informative resource for physicians who may be unclear about any of the types of electronic clinical quality measures. For example, the form provides insight on proportion measures, episode-of-care measures, continuous variable measures and patient-specific measures. A few of these measures include screening for conditions like high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and clinical depression. 

Additional resources include the CMS' eCQM library, where physicians can download each measure into convenient files that can be referred to when necessary. Meanwhile, the Value Set Authority Center allows providers to download value sets from the eCQMs. Depending on how physicians want to access the set, there are various formats to choose from as well.