An increased number of U.S. hospitals are adopting and reporting electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) to drive quality improvement, The Joint Commission reports in its 2017 annual report, America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety.
Through its work with accredited hospitals preparing for eCQM data reporting that will be required in 2018, The Joint Commission has identified six primary priorities among those that are successfully implementing eCQM adoption and practice. They are:
- Establishing multidisciplinary team structures for eCQM adoption
- Repurposing quality abstractors and “growing” clinical informaticists
- Providing robust eCQM resources and training to staff
- Embracing continuous improvement and iterative development
- Incorporating eCQMs in organizational strategy
- Engaging physicians
Physician engagement is a particularly critical component identified by The Joint Commission and its accredited hospitals taking part in eCQM adoption activities to date. As one hospital identified: 90 percent of its eCQM data elements are documented by physicians.
In 2016, 470 Joint Commission accredited hospitals voluntarily submitted eCQM data to The Joint Commission, up 436 hospitals from the previous year. And, in its newly published annual report, The Joint Commission reports that surveys of its accredited hospitals indicate high awareness of eCQM reporting requirements, and that most hospitals plan to report 2017 eCQM data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) next year.
Until recently, most hospitals collected information to measure health care quality by manually abstracting data from patient records. Today, through eCQMs—which rely on structured, encoded data present in the electronic health record—hospitals can electronically collect and transmit data on the quality of care that patients receive. The electronic data can be analyzed to measure and improve care processes, performance and outcomes.
In the annual report, The Joint Commission calls attention to those hospitals as 2017 Pioneers in Quality Data Contributors, so named for voluntarily leading the way in submitting eCQM data ahead of required reporting in 2018. The report also recognizes:
- Eleven hospitals and health systems as 2017 Pioneers in Quality™ Solution Contributors for sharing proven eCQMs practices with other accredited hospitals through Joint Commission-sponsored learning programs.
- Nine hospitals and health systems as 2017 Pioneers in Quality™ Expert Contributors for other contributions to peer learning that help advance the evolution and utilization of eCQMs across Joint Commission accredited organizations and the field at large.
The Joint Commission, the United States’ leading accreditor of health care organizations, established the Pioneers in Quality™ program to assist and recognize hospitals that report eCQM data, as well as share best practices for all hospitals in gathering, analyzing and leveraging eCQM data for quality improvement.
“Hospitals that voluntarily shared information with The Joint Commission over the past year are helping the entire industry move forward by showing others how to utilize electronic clinical quality measures to improve care and ultimately achieve better health and save lives,” says David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president, Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission.