The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a tool to share automatically electronic data for the Medicare Quality Payment Program. This new release is the first in a series that will be part of CMS’s ongoing efforts to spur the creation of innovative, customizable tools to reduce burden for clinicians, while also supporting high-quality care for patients.
In October, CMS released the Quality Payment Program website, an interactive site to help clinicians understand the program and successfully participate. Today’s release, commonly referred to as an Application Program Interface (API), builds on that site by making it easier for other organizations to retrieve and maintain the Quality Payment Program’s measures and enable them to build applications for clinicians and their practices. The API, available at qpp.cms.gov/education, will allow developers to write software using the information described on the Explore Measures section of QPP.cms.gov. Based on interviews with clinicians, CMS created the Explores Measures tool, which enables clinicians and practice managers to select measures that likely fit their practice, assemble them into a group, and print or save them for reference. Already, tens of thousands of people are using this tool.
Dr. Kate Goodrich, Director of the CMS Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality said, “The API released today will continue CMS’s focus on user-driven design by providing developers and our partners the opportunity to turn our data into powerful applications. CMS is committed to collaborating with the organizations that doctors trust to make their lives easier, while supporting their efforts to improve the quality of care across America.”
“An important part of the Quality Payment Program is to make it easier and less expensive to participate, so clinicians may focus on seeing patients,” said Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of CMS. “This first release is a step in that process, both for physicians and the technologists who support them.”
Several groups have applauded the release of this information, including: the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NHRI), American College of Radiology (ACR), American College of Physicians (ACP), National Rural Accountable Care Consortium, Great Lakes PTN, Pacific Business Group on Health, Compass PTN, TMF QIN-QIO, and the Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation.
“The American College of Physicians (ACP) supports the efforts of CMS to design and share publicly accessible interfaces that help simplify the process of physician participation in the Quality Payment Program. These efforts are aligned with ACP's ongoing efforts to help equip physicians with tools and support needed to transform from volume-based, to value-based, patient-centered care," said Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president, ACP.
“As a Quality Innovation Network- Quality Improvement Organization, TMF is excited about this innovative approach towards providing transparency around quality improvement efforts. We believe that the API approach will allow CMS, providers, and patients to benefit from the ideas of creative programmers across the country as they build user-friendly interfaces to put information at the fingertips of those who need it,” said Russell Kohl, MD, FAAFP, Medical Director for Practice Transformation, TMF QIN-QIO. “Efficiencies like these, that allow physicians to spend less time on administration and more on caring for patients, are the hallmark of our daily efforts to help caregivers, regardless of their location, provide the best care to patients, and we look forward to seeing CMS's results.”
“We applaud CMS for using innovations in technology to help clinicians select and report meaningful measures for the quality of care patients receive,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “APIs hold a lot of promise for helping consumers access and use information in a more actionable and easy-to-understand way, which can lead to improved outcomes for both patients and health care providers.”
Through streamlined policy and improved technology and operations, the Quality Payment Program is modernizing Medicare to pay smarter for better care. The Quality Payment Program is designed to reduce reporting burden on clinicians so that they can focus on their patients, while also providing useful information to clinicians and other stakeholders, so that overall care quality improves. As the program and its supporting website mature, CMS will continue to release data and APIs to spur innovation and keep participants up-to-date.