If you were to ask 100 physicians what about their job makes them happy, I guarantee “administrative work” would not be at the top of any lists. The same goes for advanced practice providers, nurses, and other clinical support staff. No one goes through the long and specialized process of becoming a health care practitioner with the goal of completing paperwork all day!
Providing excellent patient care is usually the number one focus of medical practices. While programs such as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS for short (formerly PQRS) are extremely important for assessing themes in the quality and cost of health care, the path to collecting that mandatory data has not always been an easy one.
Because the type of health care data providers are required to report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) is a combination of clinical and billing information, it can be extremely difficult to capture this data at the point of care in most electronic medical record systems. By the time the information gets to billing and the required quality data has been identified, sometimes days or weeks later, the doctor is usually no longer actively treating the patient, and the biller isn’t sure where to find the clinical information.
The disconnect between clinical and billing causes such an arduous back-and-forth between different employees and software systems in a practice that many doctors choose to wait until the end of the year to even think about reporting quality data to the government. While this is certainly one option, I know from personal experience that this data collection method is not done without significant difficulties.
Reporting quality data at the end of the year through a qualified registry involves obtaining a comprehensive report with detailed information for all of the patient encounters that occurred during the calendar year. I worked with several practices who used pMD’s PQRS registry for the 2016 reporting year. Some of them were able to pull this report after one or two tries, while others had to request multiple iterations (sometimes over 10 versions!) of the data from their billing company.
Once the report is finally complete, some registries such as pMD’s can systematically identify which patients qualify for the practice’s chosen quality metrics. Other registries cannot, and the practice must manually identify these patients. The final, and usually most time-consuming step, is to then find and review each of those qualifying patients’ medical records to actually provide the government-mandated data! I’ve spoken to providers and administrative staff who have dedicated multiple days and even weeks to this chart review process.
Nearly everyone who has worked on chart review laments, “If only we had recorded this information at the time we saw this patient!” Not only would that save many hours of administrative time, it would also ensure the information was recorded at the time the action was being performed, ensuring a high level of accuracy.
pMD has integrated our MIPS registry services with our charge capture product, allowing providers to capture their quality data at point-of-care with just one tap. This method of collecting quality data is fast and accurate, and it gives the practice real-time visibility into their quality performance throughout the year. And, probably most important to keeping our doctors happy, this saves providers and staff a significant amount of administrative work at the end of the reporting year. As the old adage goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But here at pMD, we like to say that a second of prevention is worth hours of cure!