ONC allows NCQA to offer health IT testing services to vendors

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The National Committee for Quality Assurance, which measures health performance data through its HEDIS tool to enable comparisons between insurers, now can offer health IT testing services to technology and data vendors.

NCQA’s expansion of services comes through a new certification program from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

ONC has approved NCQA to use its eMeasure testing laboratory to help vendors seeking to be certified for reporting electronic clinical quality measures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in support of the Quality Payment program—the new version of the electronic health record meaningful use program. NCQA also will help vendors obtain certification to report quality measures related to the Patient-Centered Medical Home Program, with NCQA also offering a standard supplemental dataset in support of HEDIS reporting.

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The goal is to reduce reporting burdens on providers by working with the vendors to make reporting easier.

“As the country moves from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, there is an increasing reliance on performance measurement,” says Rick Moore, CIO at NCQA. “We believe our 20-year history of producing HEDIS, the most widely used nationally comparable performance measurement set, offers vendors an assuredness that when they pass our testing, their system is ready to accurately select the correct records for reporting.”

The new work of NCQA builds on the electronic health record meaningful use program, now called the Quality Payment Program (QPP). Providers received financial incentives to participate in the QPP program, which included collecting and reporting quality measures. Now, NCQA is offering a streamlined process for providers participating in the QPP or Patient-Centered Medical Home program to collect and report quality measures and receive higher reimbursement for doing so.

However, physicians who do not report quality measures could face lower reimbursement by insurers, Moore says. “We are helping to validate the vendors so doctors can trust the data that they are using to meet reporting requirements.”

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