Hospital alliance says some quality reporting too costly

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

The Premier healthcare alliance, which lists 2,000 hospitals across the country as members, says the type of quality reporting that requires proprietary information, tools or methodology is too expensive.

Moreover, the alliance contends, it would slow the uptake of electronic health records.

The alliance's Quality Improvement Committee has sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services objecting to the inclusion of quality measures that require that type of public reporting.

The CEOs, representing 17 hospitals and healthcare systems comprising more than 100 hospitals, said the use of undisclosed proprietary sources available only through private organizations would create costly requirements on hospitals, slow the movement of electronic health records and create monopolistic pricing power for private vendors.  

Premier sent a separate letter to the National Quality Forum opposing the use of any quality measures that depend on proprietary methodologies or tools as contrary to the public interest and evidence-based quality improvement.  

"The Premier healthcare alliance is concerned that the proprietary nature of private registries, methodologies or tools could diminish transparency, a cornerstone of Medicare's hospital quality reporting program," said Charles Hart, MD, chairman of the Premier healthcare alliance Quality Improvement Committee and CEO of Regional Health in South Dakota.


In the alliance's view, for quality measures to be meaningful the information must be collected and reported in the same way; that means the terms, format, calculations, submission, validation and other aspects of the data collection and reporting must be in the public domain. It is the only way to make the data comparable, the alliance states.

Many of the proprietary methodologies require significant manual abstraction of data, rather than automated abstraction, and could force hospitals to hire additional dedicated staff for each measurement area, the alliance states in its letter.

"This is a step backwards for hospitals at precisely the same time they are moving forward with electronic quality reporting to improve efficiency," said Hart. "Continuing to ask hospitals to manually abstract more data, and for multiple vendors, adds a significant financial burden and diverts attention from the intent of data collection - looking for opportunities to improve care outcomes, patient safety and care delivery efficiency."  

How is your healthcare organization handling required quality reporting? Send your comments to Editor Bernie Monegain at