Where will the Digital Measures Roadmap lead?

If you could look into the future of health care, what would you see? Better quality? Less burdensome measurement and reporting for providers and health plans? More efficient, more accurate measurement?

The future might be sooner than you think. NCQA is developing a tool to bring those changes into view: We call it our Digital Measures Roadmap (DMR).

The DMR expands NCQA’s HEDIS measure set to include digital measures. Measurement will be easier for those who collect, calculate and consume information about health care quality.

From mobile devices and tablets, to wearable technology like Fitbit and the Apple watch, the list of data sources seems endless.

NCQA in the News with Health IT

The volume and variety of data can be overwhelming, especially when we must collect accurate data while simultaneously reducing the burden of measurement on providers.

HEDIS measures have traditionally been available only in multi-volume books or electronic files that users must read, interpret and code (read: retype) into electronic systems. Those tasks are not only time consuming, they also introduce plenty of chances for human error.

DMR is NCQA’s response to the flood of more data from more data sources. It augments and improves on tradition by digitizing HEDIS—specifying measures as software code that so that computers talk directly to computers. And by using data directly from EHRs and clinicians’ workflow, “digital HEDIS” enables easier, more accurate and more meaningful measures.

What’s Next?

Making measurement easier is hard. And it won’t happen fast.

We’ve been spreading the news, and customer and partner organizations agree that the Digital Measures Roadmap can take health care to a better place. The big question is, “How fast can we get there?”

We released our first six digital measures in 2017. We’ll release five more in July—and release more measures throughout the next few months and years to come.

Meanwhile, the traditional HEDIS remains. Our customers can experiment with the new format and become familiar with the digital measures.

It took decades to build today’s measurement environment; it will take some time for health care to diversify into digital alternatives. The missions, budgets and business models of many organizations are based on how HEDIS works today. NCQA must move carefully and cooperatively with other entities as we roll out the future of HEDIS options. And when it gets here, we’ll all be ready.

Do you have questions or advice on adopting digital measures? Let us know at communications@ncqa.org.