The HITECH Act, as you may know, provides financial incentives for certain Medicaid and Medicare eligible providers to adopt and prove that they “meaningful use” electronic health records. ADA has made recommendations to HITECH regulations which impact anyone using health information technology under this program. During Stage I of the program, which is occurring now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) accepted several of ADA’s recommendations. Below are two of the recommendations taken:
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Providers are required to enter height and weight into their EHR for individual patients. Certified Electronic Health Records are required to calculate this into BMI.
Adult Weight Screening & Follow-up (PQRI 128/NQF 0421)
ADA also recommended PQRI 128/NQF 0421 (Adult Weight Screening and Follow-Up) as a Core Quality Measure. This means EVERY provider must report they are meeting a threshold of this measurement in their patients or not receive incentive payments. This measure is one of three core quality measures required (blood pressure measurement and tobacco screening being the other ones.) Likewise, there are three alternate measures which can be used if the three above are not relevant. The substitution for PQRI 128/NQF 0421 is NQF 0024 Weight Assessment and Counseling for Children and Adolescents.
The next step is to identify specific data elements which must be consistent across all EHRs so that “data can follow the patient.” The Office of the National Coordinator’s Standards and Interoperability Framework has work underway to do just that. ADA is participating in this effort.
If you have experience using either of these two (BMI or PQRI 128/NQF 0421) in an electronic format (EHRs, Personal Health Records, patient registries or health information exchanges) please share your experiences, as now is the time to help create best practices for electronic standards!