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Calling HIM Quality Experts
NQF Seeking HIM Input on Quality Measures
By Chris Dimick
STEP UP, OR step out of the way—that could be a motivating motto for HIM professionals when it comes to developing, cri- tiquing, and using quality measures. While HIM professionals have traditionally worked with nurs- es and other clinicians on quality measures, the move to the digital age has seen an increasing number of health IT profes- sionals stepping into the role—sometimes taking the place of the HIM professional. Quality measures have never been more important in health- care, with measures increasingly tied to reimbursement and public reporting. Therefore, it has never been more impor- tant for HIM professionals to step up and take part in quality
measure work, according to Ann Watt, MBA, RHIA, associate
director of the department of quality measurement, division
of healthcare quality evaluation, at the Joint Commission and
frequent volunteer evaluating quality measures for the National
Quality Forum (NQF).
AHIMA joined NQF in 2008 to ensure that HIM professionals
had a say in the quality measures being approved for the industry, according to Crystal Kallem, RHIA, CPHQ, senior business
analyst with Lantana Consulting Group and former AHIMA delegate to NQF. It is a valuable partnership that allows AHIMA and
its members to have a stake and literal vote in NQF’s work, specifically its endorsement of widely used quality measures.
“NQF is the consensus body in the United States for endorsement and prioritization of standardized performance improvement measures,” Watt says. “And because performance improvement is part of the responsibility of HIM professionals, I
think that we want to have a voice in how these prioritizations
are done, in which standards are endorsed, and that is what
membership in NQF enables us to do.”
NQF Endorsements Nationally Respected
NQF is a nonprofit organization that works to build consensus
on national priorities and goals for healthcare performance improvement. Its work includes endorsing national standards for
measuring, publicly reporting performance, and sponsoring
education and outreach programs to promote quality goals.
NQF does not develop quality measures. It uses committees
and a voting process to vet measure details and offer endorsements of measures before their implementation.
NQF is one of the most important organizations for determining quality measurement and reporting, as well as for defining
the data used for quality measurement, Kallem says. The latter
has a direct impact on HIM professionals, who usually collect
and report data for healthcare quality measures.
AHIMA members have the background and expertise needed
to participate in many NQF initiatives. Current projects that
need HIM input include the use of quality measurement standards and standard practices for EHR and eMeasure implementation, the availability of data to support quality improvement,
implementation of longitudinal standards across different
healthcare organizations, and the role of quality measures in
health information exchange.
For example, Kallem served on NQF’s eMeasure Review Panel, which was responsible for analyzing the 113 NQF-endorsed
quality measures that had recently been retooled into an electronic format. The panel reviewed each measure to ensure it was
not modified when it moved from paper reporting processes to
the eMeasure format.
Benefits of Membership
As a member of NQF, AHIMA ensures HIM industry interests