For physicians to succeed under the new Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program, they’ll need to take advantage of the data inside the EHRs or developed adequate health information exchange capabilities.

That will be new territory for most physician practices, because while they have implemented electronic health records systems in response to the meaningful use program, they haven’t done much with the information in them.

That’s the view of Michael Mytych, principal at Health Information Consulting, which specializes in hospital EHR and HIE vendor selection services. In particular, Track 2 of the program will require substantial data collection from EHRs covering quality metrics, patient volumes and data exchange, among other factors—and many physicians haven’t done a lot of this.

Michael Mytych
Michael Mytych

For instance, Mytych explains, practices will have to track patient compliance on how well they are managing their own care, as well as patient satisfaction. Providers using Epic EHRs and primarily exchanging data with other Epic users may have an easier time doing that.

But other providers that are using disparate information systems will find it more difficult, Mytych contends. Practices may have a difficult time agreeing on what tools to use for analytics, and whether payers or providers will make the ultimate decision on those tools.

Also See: How CMS wants to see IT used to improve primary care

Providers will have to start using health information exchange capabilities in their EHRs or through HIE vendors far more than they have thus far, and many practices already have challenges in pulling and using data, Mytych adds. “I think it will put a lot of pressure on data acquisition and lining up EHRs.”

Under the initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking better treatment planning and population health management, so practices will need to analyze their care and quality gaps, including patient access to transportation, he adds.

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