St. Luke's CIO: Despite meaningful use changes, hospitals must align EHRs with quality measures
As policy wonks and advocates battle over just how much meaningful use will likely change in 2016, the Physician Quality Reporting System might have snuck up on healthcare IT staffs tasked with implementing new technology platforms.
"The focus for most of the health IT folks has obviously been meaningful use regulations, and there hasn’t been a lot of focus on the PQRS," said Deborah Gash, CIO of Kansas City, Missouri-based St. Luke's Health System.
In fact, Gash said she actually had what she called an "aha!" moment when colleagues at St. Luke's began asking her about how best to address PQRS stipulations in concert with other reporting requirements.
Gash and Anantachai Panjamapirom, senior consultant at The Advisory Board Company, will present on St. Luke's experience in "PQRS and Alignment Opportunity — Concept to Operationalization," during HIMSS16 beginning in late February.
"Bringing awareness to what this program is, how we were able to work through all the operational issues, and create a program to allow us to follow through and successfully meet the requirements was something we thought would be worthwhile to share," Gash said.
Panjamapirom said numerous Advisory Board clients, such as St. Luke's, have already taken steps to align not only MU and PQRS, but also try to devise strategies to bring other programs, such as Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting and the Value-Based Payment Modifier, into efficient alignment.
"Most of what you have to do is workflow and culture changes," Gash said, "such as documenting the right elements and being consistent about it, plus developing workflows and decision support tools in your EHR to ensure you're getting the quality data captured. That's really where the lion's share of the work is for organizations."
Gash also said larger organizations are not necessarily better prepared to operationalize alignment.
"I think the complexity of the organization can increase your risk," she said. "I find smaller practices that are paying attention do quite well. It's that lack of awareness and understanding of what you have to do in the requirements that puts you at risk."
"PQRS and Alignment Opportunity - Concept to Operationalization" will be presented March 1 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. at Sands Expo Convention Center, Palazzo D.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.