NCQA taps Phytel for medical home requirements

By Mike Miliard
10:25 AM

The National Committee for Quality Assurance has reached an agreement with Dallas-based Phytel, under which physician practices using the company's care management technologies can automatically meet certain NCQA requirements for recognition as a patient-centered medical home.

Phytel bills itself as the first non-EHR vendor – and just the second company – with which NCQA has made such an arrangement.

"The patient-centered medical home is driving better, more affordable healthcare by improving the coordination of care and by fostering population health management," said NCQA President Margaret O'Kane. "Phytel has taken a leadership role in helping physician practices develop the infrastructure for automating population health management and patient engagement in the PCMH setting. We will be confident that groups who have incorporated certain Phytel services into their standard care management processes will meet our corresponding recognition criteria."

[See also: Phytel well-positioned for PPACA.]

NCQA has completed a corporate review to identify which of Phytel's services support its 2011 PCMH recognition program, officials say. Future reviews will be conducted as Phytel introduces more products and features aligned with the NCQA PCMH 2011 standards. NCQA will use the results of its corporate review to assess compliance by practices that use Phytel's solution with its requirements for PCMH recognition. Depending on which Phytel services are deployed, a practice can automatically receive a specified number of points toward achieving recognition as a medical home.

At UHS Medical Group, in Binghamton, N.Y., 120 providers are using Phytel's registry-based patient outreach program. "Being able to get automatic credit for using Phytel will be a huge plus," said Frank Floyd, MD, UHS' associate medical director. "By removing the need for sending in supporting documentation, it will streamline the process for medical home recognition. With the help of Phytel, some of our sites have already received NCQA approval as either Level 1 or Level 3 medical homes, and it will be even simpler to apply for this recognition in the future."

Phytel’s SaaS-based automated care management suite includes a range of solutions meant to help physician practices build PCMHs that satisfy NCQA's 2011 criteria. Those services include protocol-driven registries to identify care gaps and trigger messages to patients for recommended care; applications that stratify patient populations according to identified health risks and create personalized, automated interventions; patient self-management programs that include health risk assessments and individualized online care plans; automated communications that follow a patient's hospital or ER discharges to help prevent unnecessary readmissions; and analytics that measure an organization's effectiveness in its quality improvement initiatives.

[See also: Rare air.]

"NCQA has been a key player in the nationwide efforts to support the transformation of primary care practices toward patient-centered medical homes that coordinate patient care and engage patients in managing their own conditions," said Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer. "We are very pleased to be able to tell our clients and prospective clients that their use of Phytel's solutions can directly contribute to their efforts to achieve NCQA PCMH recognition."

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