The goals embodied by Meaningful Use, directed at population and patient health as well as reduced costs, are to be commended. Of course the challenge lies in the details as providers successfully navigate each of the envisioned Stages, including data acquisition, process management and improved outcomes.
As the breadth and depth of such information expands how will we determine and more importantly measure best practice?
To date, rating organizations have relied on the combination of administrative billing data, core measures and patient satisfaction scores. As our goals and data tracking capabilities have evolved, extended measures have been incorporated, including readmissions and 30-day mortality. Yet, Meaningful Use encompasses both patient and population health. How shall we assess an organization’s ability to manage care for a community?
The answer to this question may be close at hand. The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) provides an analytic roadmap to quantifying our nationwide objectives, with broad categories including “Effectiveness of Care”, “Access/Availability of Care”, “Experience of Care”, and “Utilization and Relative Resource Use”. Such content cuts across multiple aspects of our delivery system, including inpatient and outpatient encounters, preventive care and population health.
So as we embrace the spirit of Meaningful Use and specifically the goals of reducing cost and promoting a healthy patient and population, identifying “wellness” leaders may hinge on the successful integration of traditional and evolving healthcare data sets. By doing so, we may shine a light on those attributes critical to the creation of a vibrant healthy community of tomorrow.
Michael R Udwin, MD, FACOG