Using Clinical Data Standards to Measure Quality: A New Approach

Appl Clin Inform. 2018 Apr;9(2):422-431. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1656548. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


Background: Value-based payment for care requires the consistent, objective calculation of care quality. Previous initiatives to calculate ambulatory quality measures have relied on billing data or individual electronic health records (EHRs) to calculate and report performance. New methods for quality measure calculation promoted by federal regulations allow qualified clinical data registries to report quality outcomes based on data aggregated across facilities and EHRs using interoperability standards.

Objective: This research evaluates the use of clinical document interchange standards as the basis for quality measurement.

Methods: Using data on 1,100 patients from 11 ambulatory care facilities and 5 different EHRs, challenges to quality measurement are identified and addressed for 17 certified quality measures.

Results: Iterative solutions were identified for 14 measures that improved patient inclusion and measure calculation accuracy. Findings validate this approach to improving measure accuracy while maintaining measure certification.

Conclusion: Organizations that report care quality should be aware of how identified issues affect quality measure selection and calculation. Quality measure authors should consider increasing real-world validation and the consistency of measure logic in respect to issues identified in this research.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Electronic Health Records / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality Control
  • Reference Standards

Grant support

Funding Support for this research was provided by the Kansas Health Information Network and Diameter Health, jointly donating time and resources to the research team.