The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a request for information to assess policy options that could improve the certification and testing of health IT—specifically electronic health records—used for reporting quality measures.

The purpose of the RFI, which has a 30-day public comment period, is to get industry feedback addressing the following: how often to require recertification, the number of clinical quality measures a certified health IT module should be required to certify to, and testing of certified HIT modules “in order to reduce the burden and further streamline the process for providers and health IT developers while ensuring such products are certified and tested appropriately for effectiveness.”

Depending on the input, CMS may include what it learns in the upcoming rulemaking process for the agency’s quality reporting programs such as the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

The use of health IT, such as EHRs, can “support electronic clinical quality measurement, which allows for more timely access to richer clinical data sources, more rapid feedback for quality improvement, and reduced reporting burden for providers,” wrote Kate Goodrich, MD, director of the CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, in a Dec. 30 blog.

IQR and PQRS either require or provide the option to use certified EHR technology—as defined under the EHR Incentive Program—for reporting quality data. However, starting in 2018, eligible professionals and hospitals participating in the EHR Incentive Program must electronically report clinical quality measures (CQMs) using CEHRT where feasible; and attestation to CQMs will no longer be an option except in certain circumstances where electronic reporting is not feasible.

The RFI can be found here.

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