Updated specifications for the Eligible Hospital 2014 electronic clinical quality measures finalized in Meaningful Use Stage 2 of the EHR incentive program are now available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. In addition, a new tool called Bonnie for testing eCQMs has been released to support measure developers in e-specification of clinical quality measures. 

"For Meaningful Use Stage 2, the certification of electronic health record technology is necessary to ensure the accurate capture, calculation, and reporting of electronic clinical quality measures and the electronic reporting of quality data to CMS," wrote Kevin Larsen, M.D., medical director of meaningful use at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, in an April 3 blog. "Federal agencies continue to enhance and provide a number of tools and resources that support the technical implementation, testing, and use of electronic clinical quality measures for reporting and corresponding EHR certification."

According to Larsen, vendors may see a benefit from the tool when testing measure implementation into EHRs, which can be accomplished either by using a test deck built by a measure developer or, since Bonnie is an open source tool, by building a patient test deck. On April 7 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT, respectively, two Bonnie training sessions will be held.

"We look forward to full implementation of electronic reporting in 2014 and the certification of EHRs that use eCQMs," he wrote. "We welcome your feedback on the updated Meaningful Use Stage 2 eCQMs, resources provided, new testing tool, and how we can continue to serve you better."

In related news, ONC and CMS last month launched a new Clinical Quality Framework (CQF) initiative to "harmonize" standards for clinical decision support and eCQM. One of the primary goals of the CQF initiative is to relieve the implementation burden on vendors and providers who are adhering to different standards and find it difficult to share logic between eCQMs and CDS rules.

CDS and eCQM are closely related and share many common requirements, such as the ability to identify a cohort of patients based on logical combinations of patient data. However, the standards used for the electronic representation of CDS and eCQM were not developed in concert with each other and use different approaches to patient data and computable expression logic. 

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