- A growing number of hospitals are adopting and reporting electronic clinical quality measures (eCQM), according to the Joint Commission’s 2017 annual report.
- Last year, 470 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals voluntarily submitted eCQM data, up from just 34 in 2015. This year, the number is expected to exceed 2,000.
- The surge reflects hospitals’ growing confidence in the accuracy of eCQM data and their ability to submit using their EHR data, the report says.
The commission has been encouraging hospitals to embrace eCQMs for several years now, including incorporating the measures in operational strategy and increasing staff training. Proponents say they will bolster performance and outcomes by enabling better analysis of the quality data.
Starting in January, hospitals participating in CMS’ Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program must choose and report on at least four of 15 available eCQMs using 2014 or 2015 certified EHR technology.
EHRs are an important tool for hospitals, but they can also frustrate providers with the time required to input data. One recent survey found doctors spend more than half their time on EHR transactions, and another showed 40% of respondents saying a lack of EHR interoperability was "extremely burdensome." Keeping up with the technology is also an issue, as only 9% of providers are fully compliant with ONC's 2015 EHR certification.
The Joint Commission report found that, overall, hospitals showed strong performance on 15 accountability measures from seven sets: inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism care, stroke care, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco use treatment and substance use care.
The composite quality score for inpatient psychiatric services, for instance, was 92.1%, up from 90.3% in 2015. Perinatal care compliance edged up, too — from 97.6% in 2015 to 98.1% last year. Substance use care climbed to 82.2% from 77.5% the prior year, while tobacco use treatment hit 87.7%, up from 84.2.
Gains were also seen in VTE, stroke care and immunization. Measures for heart attack and children’s asthma were retired for this year’s report.
The commission attributed a dip in the composite accountability score — from 93.7% in 2015 to 92.4% last year — to the retiring of 14 long-time measures. About half of all cases in the 2015 composite stemmed from those 14 measures, the report says. It details the results of more than 3,200 commission-accredited hospitals’ 2016 performance on individual measures of patient care.