What should we be measuring?

Recently, there has been some debate from EMR providers over the type of data that should be provided to CMS when reporting clinical outcomes.

CMS, in a newly proposed rule, wants to define and begin to use a new measure called CQM. CQM stands for Clinical Quality Measure and is used to establish the top tier providers for the effectiveness and necessity of specific treatments.

 

The Issue

The issue here is that establishing this measure would require more detailed data from EMR/EHR vendors.

Instead of having generic aggregated data presented in XML format, vendors would have to provide patient level data for this measure. We spoke about the need for these new types of measures in our PQRS webinar and all providers should be expecting them to come about in the coming years.

 

We also understand the reason that these professional EMR vendors do not want to report on patient level data. As it currently stands for PQRS, CMS asks vendors to report summarized data from a pool. This gives them a baseline for quality control, but doesn’t allow them to see what treatments are being provided or the outcome of the treatment. So to improve the value of this data, CMS is now asking for the same data to be represented on a line item basis instead of summarized in a basic XML format. This exposes the reasons that the EMR/EHR vendors have for not wanting to change their format. Reporting this way will take further development and could also take extra precautionary measures to protect data. Essentially, it means more work for them and us (we are an EMR provider after all). 

 

The Benefit

  • Evidence Based Practice - The need for these types of measures, especially in Physical Therapy, goes along with the demand for evidence based practice. The physical therapy community wants to elevate the profession and to do that, we are going to have to prove it. This is a great way to achieve this goal.
  • Quality Patient Care - Although these changes mean a few development team headaches, the insights gathered from the more detailed data and the CQM can help our customers and the physical therapy industry continue to gain ground as a highly respected profession with evidence to back up the proclaimed benefits. Measuring outcomes is important to providing quality care at an effective cost. 
  • Standards - Outcome measures of all kinds are immensely important to physical therapists. These outcomes can be used to document many changes in abilities, behaviors and treatments over a period of time. As a profession we need to continually, scientifically provide evidence for the need and success of our interventions. Outcomes like this one can also help to unite physical therapists across the world by sharing data and treatment plans. 

 

What do you have to say?

We are interested to hear your thoughts on the new CQM proposal and how you think it can help physical therapists differentiate themselves from the rest.

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