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As the use of electronic health records continues to grow, so do the number of quality measures and rules associated with usage. Among the steady stream of reforms and tasks and organizations are new rules from the National Quality Forum. In December, NQF published its updated set of 113 retooled measures from paper records to eMeasures. The measures were created to provide easier access to quality and performance data in electronic health measures.
And while the retooling of the measures was completed at the end of 2011, the Government Accountability Office revealed in a January 13th report that the project was delayed for three months by NQF, costing the Department of Heath and Human Services usage of these measures for the Electronic Health Records Incentive Program. In fact, the report states that NQF failed to meet deadlines in 18 of 26 projects in the first two years of the four-year HHS contract, as of August 2011. Reasons cited for the delays include greater complexity than expected, "overly ambitious" timeframes, and errors in coding of the retooled measures.
The GAO found that HHS did not use all the monitoring tools at its disposal to keep tabs on the NQF projects. HHS also has not yet tested 44 of the corrected measures -- running the risk that the measures may not work when implemented.
GAO recommended that HHS: (1) use all monitoring tools required under the contract to help address NQF’s performance, (2) complete testing of retooled measures, and (3) comprehensively plan for its quality measurement needs.
Read the GAO's report here.