Is Your Data Collection Method Harming Practitioner Efficiency?
Data collection for quality measurement under value-based care (VBC) programs should not impair practitioner efficiency or patient care. The data needed to measure performance should be collected as a natural byproduct of care delivery and should be leveraged to support quality outcomes.
While Health Information Technology (aka HealthIT) is a key component of value-based care, extracting data from most EMR/EHR systems can be cumbersome and time consuming.
Most VBC models require reporting on quality measures to demonstrate the quality of care being delivered. These quality measures are based on clinical guidelines for the management of care. Since clinical guidelines change regularly, so do the data requirements necessary to support them. Manual data collection is already a challenge when it involves running reports and/or creating extracts to compile data from disparate systems in order to meet quality performance requirements. When you add constantly changing (at least annually) measure specifications and data element requirements, data collection can easily consume critical resources.
The burden of manual data collection, if ignored, can hasten a path to failure under VBC programs. Beyond changing clinical guidelines, performance benchmarking is another complexity to overcome. Recurring high performance benchmarks can lead to VBC measures being retired at a quickened pace. Practices without an eye on changing benchmarks can find themselves either not reporting enough to meet programmatic requirements, or not meeting thresholds to avoid penalty under various programs.
Data collection should not be a burden. Providers and group practices that make data available through protected (read-only) direct data connections and/or APIs are buying into the theory that they are delivering high quality care and the data is there to back that up. It should not require running reports or exporting files to compile to meet requirements. If the work was done and the data is in the system, restricting availability of that data would only serve to restrict performance being reported under the various quality performance programs.
Data Connectors and APIs, however, will not solve the problem of changing benchmarks and measure selection stagnation. Providers and practices spending countless hours understanding how VBC programs work or how measures or benchmarks change are NOT spending that time with patients. Providers and group practices that leave the work of managing VBC programs to the experts will succeed under any VBC model and will continue to succeed in offering a higher quality of care to their patients.
Quality performance programs are not grounded in a desire to drive providers and group practices mad. Quality performance programs are, however, responsible for raising the bar to encourage providers to improve the quality and reduce the cost of care.
The result should help bring healthcare out of the paper era and into a connected environment that serves to improve the quality of care for all patients.