The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services increasingly are asking hospitals to collect and submit data that can measure the quality of care. But the agencies aren’t giving the hospitals good guidance on collecting the complex data, according to a new report from the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress.
CMS has joined efforts by HHS to promote the use of IT in health care, including a Quality Workgroup charged with specifying how IT could capture, aggregate, and report inpatient and outpatient quality data. HHS plans to expand the use of health IT for quality data collection and submission through contracts with nongovernmental entities that currently address the use of health IT for a range of other purposes. However, HHS has identified no detailed plans, milestones, or time frames for either its broad effort to encourage IT in health care nationwide or its specific objective to promote the use of health IT for quality data collection.