Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

Specialists want registries to count towards meaningful use

By Jennifer Bresnick

- A group of specialist organizations, led by the North American Spine Society, have asked Representative Diane Black (R-TN) to allow reporting to a clinical data registry to satisfy the quality reporting clause of meaningful use under the EHR Incentive Programs.  Intended to help specialists meet the increasingly difficult requirements ahead of Stage 2, the societies ask Rep. Black, known for her legislation to add exemptions for solo practitioners and specialists, to allow full meaningful use credit for registry reporting.

“The value of registry participation goes beyond simple quality measurement,” the October 11 letter argues.  “With the evolution of health information technology, a new kind of clinical data registry is emerging that extracts data directly from the EHR for analysis and faster feedback to physicians on quality initiatives. Because clinical data registries collect data elements specific to a physician’s patient population, they improve electronic documentation, promote meaningful data exchange, and produce meaningful and actionable measures of patient care.”

Specialists of all varieties have long lamented that meaningful use is strongly geared towards primary care, and requires information that specialists don’t routinely collect for many of their patient populations.  Black’s EHR Improvements Act, introduced in March, would provide certain exemptions for specialists who are unable to meet some meaningful use requirements, allowing them to participate in the program on terms that make sense for their practice.

If these newest recommendations are put into action, specialists would have the option meet the quality reporting measure by continuing to do what they already do: upload data to specialty-specific registries, an action which aligns with the underlying goal of meaningful use.  “By definition, true participation in an EHR-based clinical registry also requires that physicians (1) capture relevant patient data, the ONC’s goal of stage 1 meaningful use, (2) exchange data with the registry and across settings, the goal of stage 2 meaningful use, and (3) engage in quality improvement activities, the goal of stage 3 meaningful use,” the letter explains.  “Therefore, physicians who use their EHRs to participate in a qualified clinical data registry should be deemed by CMS as having satisfied the requirements of the meaningful use program.”

The letter was also signed by The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the American Urological Association, among others.  “The greatest tool we can give to physicians to drive quality improvement is relevant, timely, transparent, and actionable data about their patient populations,” the letter concludes.  “Clinical data registries have the potential to dramatically improve health care through meaningful quality measurement and timely feedback. Deeming physicians who participate in these efforts using EHRs will promote and enhance use of clinical data registries.”

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