Using Health Information Technology-Related Performance Measures and Tools to Improve Chronic Care

Published in: The Joint Commission journal of quality and patient safety, v. 35, no. 5, May 2009, p. 248-255

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Donna J. Keyser, Jake Dembosky, Karen Kmetik, Mark S Antman, Carol A Sirio, Donna O. Farley

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BACKGROUND: The American Medical Association led a collaborative initiative to explore opportunities for improving the quality of outpatient chronic care through the use of nationally endorsed clinical performance measures and tools. The measures and tools focused on adult diabetes, major depressive disorder, chronic stable coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension, and asthma. METHODS: The RAND Corporation conducted an independent, formative assessment of the initiative's four pilot activities using the Context-Input-Process-Product evaluation model. RESULTS: Pilots 1 and 2 demonstrated the feasibility and value of implementing performance measures and tools in practices with electronic health information systems, while highlighting the difficulty of using them in practices with paper-based systems and in community-based models, where multiple stakeholders are expected to share patient data. Pilot 3 illustrated the usefulness of validating performance measures before their use for internal quality improvement or external reporting. Pilot 4 documented the challenges involved in exporting clinical performance data from a physician practice to external entities for multiple potential uses. DISCUSSION: Improving the quality of chronic care through clinical performance measurement, data aggregation, and reporting will require expanded use of clinical performance measures for both internal quality improvement and pay-for-performance; integrating electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic-based registries into more physician offices; more accurate measurement and documentation of diagnoses and care procedures; EHR products that make it easier to capture certain types of information; and simplified, standardized processes for performance data extraction and exporting.

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