THE QI/HIT ISSUE BRIEF
Alliance member organizations are committed to providing patients with access to the highest quality specialty care available. The Alliance's specialty association members are actively engaged in the process of developing evidence-based and clinically relevant quality measures and establishing data registries through initiatives within their own specialty and/or through various multi-stakeholder coalitions. Alliance member physicians are active participants in a number of quality improvement programs, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and support meaningful efforts to improve quality through reporting and guideline development.
In addition, Alliance members support comparative effectiveness research (CER) that focuses on transparency, public input and patient safeguards. The Alliance believes CER should enhance information about treatment options and outcomes for patients and physicians, helping them to choose the care that best meets the individual needs of the patient. CER must recognize the diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, of patient populations and subpopulations and communicate results in ways that reflect the differences in individual patient needs. CER should not be a vehicle for making centralized coverage and payment decisions or recommendations.
Finally, Alliance members are engaged in both public and private health information technology (HIT) initiatives. Through collaborative efforts with the medical specialty community, the Alliance continues to advocate for modifications to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. This includes changes that would allow specialists to demonstrate "meaningful use" of EHRs in a manner that is relevant to their practice type and patient populations. This also includes a system that provides flexibility in terms of reporting options, exclusions from criteria not specific to specialty medicine, and hardship exemptions to account for structural barriers posed by EHR vendors. The Alliance continues to work with federal agencies and advisory committees to help shape future requirements, ensuring that these programs do not create undue administrative burdens that take away from direct patient care and that a suitable national infrastructure is in place to ensure interoperability of data and functionalities that comply with national certification standards.
Alliance member societies also engage with other HIT-focused organizations and participate in private initiatives that aim to promote interoperability among disparate health information technologies, including the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), Health Level 7 (HL7), and the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS).
The following documents represent the Alliance's position on quality improvement through PQRS, CER, HIT and other proposals:
6/30/15 Letter to Senate HELP Committee Workgroup on Hearings on HIT