Federal Agencies Update Eligible Hospital 2014 Clinical Quality Measures and Provide New Measure Development Testing Tool

Kevin Larsen | April 3, 2014

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are leveraging emerging health IT in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to improve the quality of care available to beneficiaries. One step in helping to achieve this improvement is the regular updating of electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) specifications.

The CMS updates ensure the specifications align with current clinical guidelines and code sets, and remain relevant and actionable within the clinical care setting. Updated specifications for the Eligible Hospital 2014 eCQMs finalized in Meaningful Use Stage 2 of the EHR incentive program are now available on the CMS website. Measure definitions, logic, data elements, human readable HQMF, version comparisons and value sets are available through the Value Set Authority Center  and the United States Health Information Knowledgebase.

For Meaningful Use Stage 2, the certification of electronic health record (EHR) technology is necessary to ensure the accurate capture, calculation, and reporting of electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) and the electronic reporting of quality data to CMS.  Data on these measures give invaluable feedback to providers on performance and clinician alignment with best practices.    Preparing for quality measurement certification testing can be achieved through the use of the open-source software Cypress  External Links Disclaimer eCQM testing platform.  The updated eCQMs will not be available in Cypress, nor in the ONC EHR certification program until sometime in the future.

Federal agencies continue to enhance and provide a number of tools and resources that support the technical implementation, testing, and use of electronic clinical quality measures for reporting and corresponding EHR certification.   Bonnie, a new tool for testing electronic clinical quality measures, has been developed and is being released on April 3, 2014.  Bonnie is designed to support measure developers in e-specification of clinical quality measures.    Bonnie allows measure developers to do the following:

  • Independently load quality measure definitions from the Measure Authoring Tool (MAT)
  • Convert measure definitions into a format allowing execution of the measure logic
  • Rapidly craft synthetic test patients
  • Provide expected results for the test patients and evaluate if the defined logic behaves as expected, or deviates from the intent of the measure

Additionally, vendors may see a benefit from the tool when testing measure implementation into EHRs. This can be accomplished either by using a test deck built by a measure developer, or since Bonnie is an open source tool, by building a patient test deck.

Two identical training sessions will be held on April 7. We expect lots of interest, so register now for the sessions now. 10 -11 a.m. EDT session https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/521285847 External Links Disclaimer or for the 2 -3 p.m. EDT session https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/129588895 External Links Disclaimer.

We look forward to full implementation of electronic reporting in 2014 and the certification of EHRs that use eCQMs. We welcome your feedback on the updated Meaningful Use Stage 2 eCQMs, resources provided, new testing tool, and how we can continue to serve you better.