AHIMA, MGMA call to improve healthcare data collection, reporting

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The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) both recently testified before the American Health Information Community (AHIC) Quality Workgroup on specific “challenges that need to be addressed in the industry-wide drive to advance quality patient care.” 

“The healthcare community acknowledges the importance of standardizing performance measures to improve healthcare quality and efficiency. However, little attention has been devoted to the specific problems surrounding how the data for these measures are to be acquired, by whom, and at what cost,” said MGMA President and Chief Executive Officer William Jessee, MD, FACMPE.

The proliferation of data collection and reporting initiatives across the country, on national, state and local levels, create challenges for physicians and healthcare organizations. These uncoordinated and often conflicting demands for data contribute to the problem, stretching financial, staffing, and technological resources of many health care providers, the organizations said.

The organizations believe that health IT systems should greatly help with data gathering. But automated systems are not perfect because of the variations that exist in performance measurement requirements and the lack of broadly accepted standards for data content.

Linda Kloss, MA, RHIA, CAE, AHIMA CEO, said the joint report “represents the best thinking of all the organizations about data collection and reporting that rises to the fiduciary requirements, including cost, quality and safety, placed upon healthcare by America’s healthcare recipients.”

Both leaders urged the development of a standardized set of core performance measurements while resolving data collection, aggregation, and reporting issues.

The testimony was based on findings from “Collecting and Reporting Data for Performance Measurement: Moving Toward Alignment,” an AHIMA and MGMA joint report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The report is the outcome of AHRQ’s National Conference on Health Care Data Collection and Reporting which took place in November 2006.

To view the report, visit: http://healthit.ahrq.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_1248_227079_0_0_18/AHRQ_DataReport_final.pdf.