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Hospitals having trouble using EHRs to report quality measures, AHA study shows

By Joseph Conn
Posted: July 26, 2013 - 2:15 pm ET

Hospitals—even those with loads of experience using health information technology—are still having a tough time using electronic health-record systems to gather and report clinical quality measures, according to a new report summarizing a study by the American Hospital Association.

Since the inception of the electronic health-record incentive-payment program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, reporting of clinical quality measures has been part of participating providers' so-called meaningful-use objectives.

Beginning in 2014, however, all hospitals, physicians and other so-called eligible professionals in the program will be required to submit clinical quality measures electronically.

The report findings call into question hospital readiness for that transition.

The four hospitals participating in the study were not named in the report, but each had “significant experience with EHRs” before passage of the ARRA and “each uses a different EHR vendor,” the three-page report summary (PDF) said.

The bottom line of the study findings is that “automated quality reporting does not yet deliver on the promise of feasibly generating valid and reliable measures or reducing the reporting burden placed on hospitals.”

The report finds four problem areas with the federally promoted electronic clinical quality measures reporting program:

On that last point, the report specifically notes hospitals in the study group spent time and effort on their eCQM program but were unable to validate their results, which meant “hospitals saw no return on investment” in the program. That “damaged credibility of hospital leadership” and the federal EHR incentive payment program as a whole, it said.

Among several recommendations, the AHA said the pace of the eCQM program should be slowed down, fewer measures should be required and those that are required should be carefully tested “for reliability and validity before adopting them in national programs.”

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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