Quality improvement program demonstrates meaningful use
Providers will need to demonstrate improved clinical quality and patient outcomes through the use of health IT to meet some of the meaningful use criteria required by ARRA.
The Get With the Guidelines (GWTG), a successful evidence-based, quality improvement program, is one model that providers can participate in to achieve meaningful use, according to its advocates.
In their education session, “AHA’s ‘Get With the Guidelines’: Best Practices for Implementing Health IT-based Quality Programs,” Vincent Bufalino, MD, president and CEO of Midwest Heart Specialists, and Cortney Nicolato, director of the American Heart Association National Center’s Quality and Health IT Business Development, show how the program can serve as a measurement engine and evaluator for quality improvement.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) developed and launched the program nationwide in 2000 to help hospitals align the care that they provide to coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure patients with the latest scientific guidelines.
The program was targeting the reduction of cardiovascular and stroke death and disability by 25 percent by 2010, but actually achieved its goal in 2008. The 2020 goal is to increase cardiovascular health and continued reduction in death rates, said Nicolato.
More than 1,500 hospitals participate, with 625 receiving recognition for having 85 percent compliance with the guidelines, said Bufalino.
AHA and ASA recognized that while the program was a success less than 10 percent of cardiovascular and stroke care is in the inpatient setting, said Nicolato. It recently launched Get With the Guidelines Outpatient to address the need for a quality improvement program for outpatient care, she said.
AHA is working directly with health IT and electronic health record vendors to leverage their existing data extraction utilities in order to capture data that will be analyzed and transformed into performance feedback for physicians, Nicolato said. “We really want to make the program available to a wide variety of specialists,” she said. “We want to put data into action for the providers.”
The program has the tools and infrastructure to support the regional extension centers, as well, Nicolato said. Ultimately, it is hoped that through participation of the program physicians can receive incentive dollars and pay-for-performance rewards, she said.