Quality data affects patient care, reimbursements, and clinical research. According to AHIMA, “The healthcare industry is made up of diverse professions that look at the issue of data quality from different perspectives, and all agree that quality data are critical for patient care and safety, reimbursement, accreditation, quality initiatives, and research.”
The data role has been, is, and will be evolving from mountains of paper data to co-ordinated and organized electronic data. This is taking place during a time of intense focusing on quality of care. Ensuring the quality and accuracy of data going through many technological systems, both internal and external is crucial. Furthermore, now the input and maintaining of data is not just from one person but from each caregiver. “Quality care and safety improvement goals can be enhanced through the application of data guidelines and data standards” (ibid.). “A standard of data quality is necessary for clinical trials and other research to identify other epidemiological causes for disease and to advance cures” (ibid.). Accurate documentation is also necessary for the reimbursement of patient care as well as claim payments.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are bringing in “outcomes reimbursement which will replace volume-based payment systems”(The Digital Corner). Since more than one healthcare provider cared for a patient how to divide the reimbursement—and to measure the quality—will be problematic. EHRs may provide the best solution. The obtaining of diagnosis-related data with respect to care, drugs and devices used, and what each caregiver provided will be very important. This data will be an invaluable tool to evaluate what constitutes evidence-based medicine. Yes, quality data is increasingly important for good patient care, accurate reimbursements and clinical research.
AHIMA. Assessing and Improving EHR Data Quality (AHIMA Practice Brief). Retrieved on February 13, 2013, from http://library.ahima.org/xpedio/groups.
The Digital Health Corner. How outcomes-based reimbursements will change health care (October 25, 2011). Retrieved on February 13, 2013, from http://davidleescher.com/2011/10/25.