Meaningful use specifications released electronically
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 — The National Quality Forum (NQF) announces the conversion of 113 NQF-endorsed measures from a paper-based format to an electronic “eMeasure” format. The conversion, requested by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in compliance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, will allow the measures to be more easily readable by electronic health record (EHR) systems. The converted measures will be available for public and member comment through April 1, 2011.
The use of eMeasures offers many benefits and efficiencies including: greater consistency in measure development and in measuring and comparing performance results; providing more exact requirements or “specifications” about where information should be collected; greater standardization across the measures; and greater confidence in comparing outcomes and provider performance. This conversion should ensure that performance measure data are consistently defined, implemented, and usable in the context of an EHR and support the meaningful use requirements.
“eMeasures represent the future of quality improvement,” said Janet M. Corrigan, Ph.D., MBA, president and CEO of NQF. “They are core to successful implementation of incentive programs to reward meaningful use of HIT. But even more importantly, eMeasures will enable a system where measurement is automated and quality data are available at the point of care.”
In July 2010, 44 of the 113 measures were published in PDF format in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Final Rule. Further analysis of the measures to represent them in a standard electronic format (the Healthcare Quality Measure Format [HQMF]) occurred subsequent to that publication. NQF provided updates and informational implementation guidance for those 44 measures to CMS. The full set of 113 measures, fully represented in HQMF (including proposed updates to the previously published 44 measures) is now available for public comment. The public comment period will be open for 60 days and will be followed by comment resolution directly with the original measure stewards. Comment responses and any required updates will subsequently be delivered to HHS which will determine next steps, if any.