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Archive March 2018 XIX, No. 3

Easing the Quality Reporting Burden

Can technology help gather data for CMS quality reporting and benchmarking?

Outpatient Surgery Editors


Ambulatory Surgical Center Measure Reporting

If you crunch the numbers by hand or by spreadsheet, you can spend half your day gathering and collecting all the quality reporting and benchmarking data you're required to submit to oversight agencies. Some reporting is voluntary, some is mandatory and all of it can be burdensome.

To ease the burden, many are turning to electronic charting, including Dawn Ashby, RN, BSHA, CNOR, CASC, administrator of the North Hills Surgery Center in Fayetteville, Ark. Her surgical information system collects and crunches all the numbers for her, creating reports she used to have to do manually.

"Since we transitioned to electronic medical records, it made reporting several quality measures a breeze. Technology (electronic medical records) is definitely the way to go to ease the burden," says Ms. Ashby. "Electronic charting has made our center more efficient — from faster billing, being able to track outstanding deficient charts, and having patient information at your fingertips for follow-up or next appointments. Life is much better, I just wish we had converted sooner."

Beware of programs that "do not speak to each other," says Barbara Holder RN, BSN, LHRM, CAPA, the QI coordinator at the Andrews Institute ASC in Gulf Breeze, Fla. "It's like the Tower of Babel" when trying to merge data from her pre-admission software and automated drug dispenser.

Collect data or else

Some quality data programs are tied to your Medicare payment rate, so called "pay for reporting." Under the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program, for example, surgical centers must report quality of care data for standardized measures to receive the full annual update to their ASC annual payment rate.

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