Clinical Informatics to Meet Clinical Quality Measures
Healthcare organizations dedicate a tremendous amount of time and money into Electronic Health Records. These mammoth systems generate terabytes of data that are used by numerous health
facilities, such as health insurances, federal and state agencies, and healthcare systems themselves. The ability for health organizations to extract data and apply the information to meet clinical quality measures is an extremely useful tool and provides an opportunity to improve services.
CMS requires health centers to collect many different health measures, and at times it can be difficult to collect this information. At a previous Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) I was employed at; we were able to extract usable data and convert the data into a process change that resulted in a 25% increase in meeting the CMS depression metric. This specific requirement was the CMS Screening for Depression and Follow-Up Plan measure, which is the “percentage of patients aged 12 years and older screened for depression on the date of the visit using an age-appropriate standardized depression screening tool and if positive, a follow-up plan is documented on the date of the positive screen.” As you’re reading this, you may notice this is a two-part measure, which increases the complexity of capturing the data and the follow-up plan.
The key to this incredible 25% increase was combining the clinical and informatics teams. The informatics team had the baseline data and created a system to leverage the EHR to meet the two-part CMS metric. We created and tested order sets to ensure they would capture the data accurately. After this, it was essential to involve the clinical team to create the workflow and process. It was vital to include the clinical team and generate “buy-in” as they would be the team capturing the data.
The blending of clinical and informatics teams is crucial for healthcare systems to progress in the evolving landscape where data capture and clinical quality metrics are the mainstays for population management. Informatics is the blending of usable data and the application of applying the information to the frontline workers within the healthcare field. When it is applied appropriately it can yield excellent results for healthcare systems.
Dr. Jorge Camina
Clinical Subject Matter Expert