HHS summit to tackle quality improvement across programs

The Quality Summit will convene healthcare stakeholders to explore ways the department's many quality programs can be assessed and adapted to better advance value-based care models.
By Mike Miliard
01:52 PM
HHS summit to tackle quality improvement across programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is putting together a Quality Summit, meant to explore ways the many healthcare initiatives put forth by HHS can be "evaluated, adapted, and ultimately streamlined" boost value-based care for U.S. patients.

Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan announced the summit this week and is seeking to cast a wide net for attendees from all corners of the industry – HHS is accepting nominations for participants for the rest of this month.

HHS quality programs – administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service and others – have often evolved over the past two decades, gaining more and more additional measures as they do.

But there hasn't been a "systemic objective external review" of their requirements and implementation since they were created, according to the department. So with the Quality Summit, HHS seeks to review them all to make sure their optimally serving its goals of quality improvement and value-based care.

The Summit will be chaired by Hargan and patient safety expert Dr. Peter Pronovost, chief clinical transformation officer at University Hospitals.

This past month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First, that directed federal agencies to create a Health Quality Roadmap to boost reporting on data and quality measures across federal health programs.

With the Quality Summit, HHS is taking first steps toward developing that roadmap, with the help of government policymakers and 15 healthcare industry leaders from the private sector. Participants will look for ways to modernize HHS’s quality programs, with an eye toward patient-centered approaches, fostering competition, and improving access to care.

They'll also seek to reduce regulatory burden by identifying extraneous or duplicative measure requirements that hinder the delivery of high-quality care.

"Over the last decade we have seen efforts by HHS to incentivize the provision of quality care, only to be met with limited success," said Hargan in a statement. "This is in part because patients have not been empowered with meaningful or actionable information to inform their decision making."

Meanwhile, "important quality programs across the department have remained uncoordinated among the various agencies and inconsistent in their demands on healthcare providers," he said. "We believe the Quality Summit will not only strengthen the protections these programs afford patients, but also improve value by reducing costs and onerous requirements that are placed on providers and ultimately stand between patients and the high quality care they deserve.”

"Twenty years ago, the industry embarked on a paradigm shift to bring medical error and patient safety to the forefront, which resulted in a cultural transformation that medical harm was no longer inevitable, but preventable," added Pronovost. "Today, it’s time that we revisit this discussion about how to provide the high-value care patients deserve, providers desire, and the public demands."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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