Measuring the quality of health care is essential to improving it; our community cannot raise the quality of care if we don’t know where to target improvements. However, collecting the data required to conduct that measurement is also time consuming, detailed and complex.
MN Community Measurement recently conducted research evaluating the benefits to and burdens on medical groups that participate in the collection and reporting of quality data, as well as solicited feedback on how MNCM could heighten the benefits and reduce the burdens for our data-contributing medical groups. This project was funded by Aligning Forces for Quality through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
We worked with two research firms to conduct a literature review and key informant interviews on the topic. The literature review informed the questions that were asked during the interviews. Wilder Research conducted 45 semi-structured interviews with medical group representatives across Minnesota to understand both aspects of health care data collection, particularly in ambulatory care settings.
Key findings from the interviews included:
- Benefits to reporting include making providers aware of their own quality of care; allowing for better patient care; benchmarking across organizations; and better patient outcomes.
- Challenges include collection that involves manual abstraction of data; pulling the right data from EMRs; complexity of requirements; and ensuring staff is appropriately trained to do collection.
- Groups are generally satisfied with how their EMR technology supports data collection. Large medical groups and groups that submit data for more than four measures responded more favorably to their EMRs supporting data collection than small groups and groups that submit for only a handful of measures.
- One of the most significant challenges reported by groups is tracking various measurement programs and understanding what needs to be reported to each.
- Groups encouraged MNCM to further align measures with state and federal programs; to consider the cost and limitations of new and existing measures; and to improve the notification process and timing of future measurement changes.
When asked about specific measures, 78 percent of interviewees identified the suite of Depression Care measures as the most burdensome of all the measures for which they collect and report data. This concern was previously voiced by the Measure Review Committee (MRC), a subcommittee of the Measurement and Reporting Committee, in 2014. At that time, the MRC tasked MNCM with exploring ways to simplify the measure set from a technical standpoint. That process resulted in a change to the indexing criteria for the Depression measure set that will reduce burden and make it more valuable for medical groups. This change was announced in April and will be effective for the 2016 reporting year.
Read more about the research, key informant interviews and change to the Depression measure set here: