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CMS Says Information Technology Builds Healthcare Delivery

“We are working diligently to improve the means for information exchange and electronic data sharing across and among providers and health systems."

By Jacqueline DiChiara

- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is beginning the New Year with a happy and healthy resolution tied to the significance of health information technology (IT).

health information technology RFI

CMS declared in an official blog post last Wednesday that it continues to move at full speed to build a “better, smarter and healthier” healthcare delivery system.

“The use of health information technology [IT] such as electronic health records (EHR), and data are critical pieces in building this health care delivery system,” wrote Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, CMS’s Director at the Center for Clinical Standards & Quality.

“Importantly, health IT can also support electronic clinical quality measurement, which allows for more timely access to richer clinical data sources, more rapid feedback for quality improvement, and reduced reporting burden for providers.”

Goodrich explained to help make the goal of a “better, smarter and healthier” a reality, CMS is collaboratively releasing a Request for Information (RFI) along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

The RFI (CMS-3323-NC) requests electronic, mailed, or hand delivered public commentary within a 30-day window about health IT certification and EHR products used for various CMS quality reporting initiatives. These include the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

The RFI also seeks feedback about how often recertification should be required, how many clinical quality measures (CQMs) a certified Health IT Module should be mandated to certify to, and the testing of certified Health IT Modules.

“CMS and [ONC] are committed to ensuring health IT systems can support accurate, reliable, and robust reporting of quality measures,” Goodrich asserted.

“The RFI provides CMS and ONC with an opportunity to assess policy options that could improve the effectiveness of the certification of health IT and specifically the certification and testing of EHR products used for the reporting of quality measures. We aim to streamline/reduce provider, hospital, and health IT developer burden.”

CMS said the request for public commentary aims to “reduce the burden and further streamline the process for providers and health IT developers while ensuring such products are certified and tested appropriately for effectiveness."

“This request for information is part of the effort of CMS to streamline/reduce EP, eligible hospital, CAH, and health IT developer burden,” CMS stated. 

Feedback is intended to provide both CMS and the ONC of new considerations regarding future rules on CMS program quality measure reporting.

“We are working diligently to improve the means for information exchange and electronic data sharing across and among providers and health systems, increase opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback, and enhance mechanisms for the capturing of clinical information in EHRs, registries, and other systems to assist with quality reporting and care coordination," Goodrich concluded.

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