New Data Standard for EHR to make Health IT Simpler, More Effective

September 2, 2009

The National Quality Forum and Health Level 7, together with AHIMA and Alschuler Associates, LCC, have issued a draft of the Health Quality Measure Format data standard, a tool that will enable healthcare providers to automatically “extract quality-related data from their electronic health record systems.”

The National Quality Forum and Health Level 7, together with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and Alschuler Associates, LCC, have issued a draft of the Health Quality Measure Format (HQMF) data standard, a tool that will enable healthcare providers to automatically “extract quality-related data from their electronic health record systems.”

Development of the HQMF standard began as a part of the promotion for “the effective use” of EHR by healthcare professionals, and was initially led by Alschuler Associates. The HQMF standardizes “a measure's structure, metadata, definitions and logic,” which, in turn, ensures that EHR are being used consistently and with clear, standard guidelines. According to the groups who put the HQMF together, a quality ‘eMeasure’ in the HQMF could enable physicians using EHRs to easily and effectively integrate this component of healthcare IT into their practices.

According to Floyd Eisenberg, National Quality Forum’s senior vice president of health information technology, the HQMF format will not be available for use by the 2011 “meaningful use” rule making, but “as it moves through the ballot process and is tested, it is worthy of careful consideration by the HIT Standards Committee for future recommendations,” Eisenberg continued.

Crystal Kallem, AHIMA director of practice leadership and HQMF project manager, explained that the system’s developers are hoping the new data standard will make the implementation of EHR easier, which will also help physicians achieve the standards for integrating healthcare IT into office settings.

“We believe the HQMF will bridge an important gap in automated performance measurement,” said Kallem. “Standardizing quality measure data elements and logic will streamline implementation of measures and reduce the burden of manual data collection and reporting.”

To view the draft standard and submit a vote on the system, click here.

For more information on meaningful use, the implementation of EHR, and healthcare IT, please click on the links below:

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Revision of "Meaningful Use" Definition Gains Approval of HIT Policy Committee