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NAACOS Launches ACO Digital Quality Measurement Task Force

Digital quality measurement presents challenges for ACOs, as they must aggregate data from a range of providers that often do not use the same EHR system.

The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) has launched a new task force to develop recommendations for ACO digital quality measurement.  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to move entirely to electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) by 2025. CMS evaluates ACOs on several quality measures, including patient experience, cancer screenings, and diabetes control.

However, digital quality measurement presents challenges for ACOs, as they must combine data from various providers that often do not use the same EHR.

“Our EHR systems today have not yet achieved the real-world interoperable state needed to easily combine non-standardized patient data from various providers, a future requirement of CMS’s quality reporting for Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs,” Katherine Schneider, MD, chair of the NAACOS Digital Quality Measurement Task Force and past NAACOS board chair, said in a press release.

The NAACOS Digital Quality Measurement Task Force will bring together ACO leaders and other experts to identify challenges and help generate potential solutions.

Later this year, the task force will publish its recommendations in a policy paper. Then, NAACOS will convene healthcare stakeholders, including CMS, ONC, and health IT vendors, to discuss and react to the policy recommendations.

“ACOs have broader concerns about the eCQM program as currently constructed, especially many unintended implications and consequences of mandating data reporting on total patient populations instead of just the MSSP as has been done since program inception a decade ago,” Schneider said.

“Nonetheless, we know digital quality reporting, in general, is the direction we need to move in, but we need to get it right, ultimately for the benefit of the momentum of value-based care and for patients, including those cared for by safety net providers,” she added.

According to a 2021 NAACOS survey, more than three-quarters of ACOs have six or more EHRs, and 37 percent have 15 or more EHRs. Many ACOS rely on third-party vendors for data aggregation services, contributing to the cost of their work, NAACOS officials noted.

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