It wasn’t that long ago that we were talking about Y2K and stockpiling peanut butter and rice. Today when we look back at that time period, we laugh at our overreaction, but tell me truthfully - how do you handle it now when your internet goes out?
There are many good things about technology, and there are frustrating aspects too. Today's world relies on having access to technology and healthcare is not excluded.
Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) have been around for over a decade. They were developed to reduce clinician burden and provide more real-time information about quality performance. They were met with resistance over the years and have been labeled burdensome, inaccurate, and unreliable. However, when they are implemented correctly, they can provide valuable patient care and provider performance information that can be accessed in just a few minutes.
Beginning this year, CMS will publish your 2021 eCQM performance to Care (Hospital) Compare. This will allow public individuals to look at your eCQM rates and compare them to other facilities. So how does your performance reflect your organization's care? Is it pretty accurate? Your answer may depend on how much time you put into validating the data that is being captured.
The digital measure world is very different than the abstracted measure world. In the abstracted world, we can capture anything that is documented in the EHR. It can be dictated, free text, comments, or discrete fields that are created. In contrast, in the digital world, we can only capture that which is in discrete form – Yes/No responses, multiple choice responses, dates, times, numbers, etc.
This presents two challenges: providers can't understand why they've got to do all of this additional clicking and clinical analysts, who build your EHR, struggle to ensure they are capturing necessary information without creating unnecessary documentation burden.
eCQMs require you to capture specific data elements in your EHR to satisfy the logic of the measures accurately. Think of it like this. I would like you to make me the best chocolate mousse recipe and all you get is eggs, sugar, cream, chocolate, and vanilla. You could make some assumptions and try it, but it's likely you'll get at best a mediocre chocolate mousse. Or….I could give you the exact recipe with explicit instructions along with all the supplies you need. You could make me that chocolate mousse in just a short amount of time, and it would be delicious!
January is now over, and New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. I encourage you to keep one resolution – to take the recipe of great eCQMs, improve your data capture by validating, and have a great year of data collection that will provide you with decadent opportunities for a better health care environment for your patients and staff.
Karen McLaughlin is a Clinical Quality Advisor for Medisolv. She has worked with Medisolv for three years and previously spent 20 years working in a hospital setting eventually becoming the Senior Clinical Analyst. Karen helps Medisolv clients implement, monitor and improve their eCQM performance.