EHR vendor tools help physicians meet NCQA standards

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Boston-based medical informatics vendor Athenahealth has released a series of tools intended to enable physicians to achieve National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Accelerator program enables healthcare professionals to meet the NCQA guidelines through the use of medical informatics systems certified as part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use incentives. The NCQA is an independent body dedicated to improving standards of healthcare through the adoption of healthcare IT systems such as clinical informatics networks.

“We’re deeply invested in the PCMH model and believe in its potential to drive better patient care in this country,” said Margaret O’ Kane, president of the NCQA, as quoted by Information Week. “Practices and providers using the Accelerator [program] will be well positioned to earn PCMH recognition from NCQA. We are thrilled that Athenahealth is helping practices by launching this program.”

In addition to implementing medical informatics systems, healthcare providers can earn their NCQA accredition through the reporting and tracking of patient data in order to monitor overall standards of care through the use of healthcare IT. The PCMH care model makes the reporting of such data easier for medical professionals, and contributing providers are more likely to receive financial rewards under pay for performance schemes when participating in Athenahealth’s Accelerator program.

The launch of the initiative also marks the first time that a cloud-based medical informatics system has undergone a full corporate review process with regards to providing physicians with the tools to report patient data under the PCMH program.

In addition to the Accelerator program, Athenahealth is preparing a package of tools to futher enable physicians to achieve NCQA PCMH certification, including pre-filtered reporting for certification applications, quality management tools to track the status of PCMH measures, and tools designed to identify and pursue payer programs to subsidize the costs of PCMH recognition.