Hospitals expect challenges in meeting eCQM

Approximately 86 percent of hospitals expect to meet the Feb. 28, 2017, deadline to submit electronic clinical quality measures under the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services’s Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, according to a new survey.

The fast-approaching deadline was set by CMS for hospitals participating in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program, requiring them to submit four electronic clinical quality measures for patients discharged during either the third or fourth quarter of 2016.

However, despite the optimism displayed by hospital executives, the path to compliance will not be an easy one for hospitals, according to a recently released survey of 319 accredited hospitals.

The survey, conducted by The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, found that 78 percent of hospitals will need to do some or a lot of work to effectively report on the measures, while only 13 percent of respondents had successfully submitted eCQM patient level data to CMS previously.

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“We partnered with The Joint Commission on this,” says Carly Moore, spokeswoman for AHA. “We agree that few hospitals have successfully submitted eCQM patient level data to CMS, and many will need to do some or a lot of work to effectively report.”

When asked whether their EHR vendor will provide them with support to meet the eCQM requirements, 51 percent of respondents replied in the affirmative, while 35 percent said they do not believe that they will receive vendor support. In addition, many hospitals that were surveyed suggested that they will need to change electronic health record vendors to comply with the requirement.

At the same time, 64 percent of hospitals said that they would be able to afford the health IT needed to meet the eCQM requirements. Some 76 percent indicated that they are not concerned about having the knowledge and skill for implementing eCQM. Overall, 69 percent of those surveyed responded that meeting the February 2017 deadline was achievable.

According to The Joint Commission, a follow-up survey is planned for this fall to track the progress of hospitals and to better understand what can be done to help hospitals meet the Hospital IQR Program requirements.

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