By Lumetra – John Weir & Antonio Linares, MD
Recent studies have highlighted the potential for Information Technology (IT) to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare. Systems that enhance patient-clinician communications, access to patient information, as well as decision support and reference data, hold the promise of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Additionally, enhanced IT infrastructure allows the implementation of improved tracking and surveillance applications, which are important in battling emerging public health threats.
There is great interest in integration of IT in healthcare systems by patients, payers, and health policy leaders alike. A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Fostering Rapid Advances in Health,” called for significant reforms in the practice and organization of medicine and recommended that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) undertake a number of demonstration projects to stimulate innovation in the adoption of IT systems in healthcare.
Despite this momentum, physician offices remain largely unengaged in terms of their adoption and use of e-health technologies. Therefore, through its role as a major payer of healthcare services and a sponsor of both the largest national quality improvement program in the nation and innovative disease management demonstrations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in a position to provide leadership in the area of IT integration in the outpatient environment.
CMS awarded Lumetra the role of lead Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Center for Health Information Technology for the DOQ-IT program. This Special Study is designed to promote the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and IT in primary care physician offices by:
- Promoting continuity of care
- Helping stabilize medical conditions
- Preventing or minimizing acute exacerbations of chronic conditions
- Reducing adverse health outcomes (e.g., adverse drug interactions)
DOQ-IT Program’s Support to Physicians
- Provide assistance to physicians in reorganizing physician/office workflow to optimize use of IT
- Sponsor a statewide Collaborative with DOQ-IT partners to promote adoption and use of IT
- Receive, review, and validate electronically transmitted information regarding practitioner performance and identify opportunities for improvement
- Provide ongoing assistance to physicians in changing office work processes that use IT to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and cost in managing patients, including those with chronic disease
Lumetra is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and integrity of healthcare. It provides medical review, quality improvement, sophisticated data analysis, strategic communication, and fraud detection and prevention services to promote better quality of care and to protect the fiscal integrity of healthcare programs in the U.S.
Previously known as CMRI, Lumetra was founded in 1982 in response to the Peer Review Organization (PRO) Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the Health Care Financing Administration. For 20 years, Lumetra has worked to improve quality of healthcare received by Medicare beneficiaries in California. Lumetra has consistently exceeded the performance requirements of its customers, and has been awarded seven consecutive three-year Medicare QIO contracts.