CMS Launches Online Quality Payment Program Tool

The new tool will allow physicians to share data easier and supports quality patient care.

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently created a novel online tool to make navigating the Quality Payment Program easier for physician users. The tool will automatically share electronic data to the Medicare Quality Payment Program.

This tool is the first of many to be launched by the CMS in order to decrease the burden on physicians, while supporting high quality care, according to a press release.

“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.”

The Quality Payment Program website was launched in October, and the latest tool, referred to as an Application Program Interface (API), adds important benefits to the website. The API allows other organizations to obtain the Quality Payment Program’s initiatives, as well as create additional applications for physician users.

The API will let developers create software using information from the Explore Measures section of the CMS website, according to the press release. The Explores Measures tool allows users to select initiatives they will likely meet, create a group, and save them for reference.

“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,” said Kate Goodrich, MD, director of the CMS Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality. “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.”

The CMS reported that tens of thousands of people are using this tool. Multiple organizations have already announced their support of the new tools the CMS has created.

“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,” said Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president, ACP. “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.”

According to the CMS, supporters of these new measures include: American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, American College of Radiology, 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.

“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.”

The CMS is updating the Quality Payment Program through the use of streamlined policy and improved technology options to ensure that Medicare is paying for the best care. The program reduces the reporting burden on physicians so they may focus their attention on patients rather than paperwork.

As the program advances, new data and APIs will be released to spur innovation and keep physicians up-to-date, the CMS concluded.

“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.”