At HIMSS16 earlier this month, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt cited EHR usability and burdensome data entry requirements as big hurdles in the move to paying doctors for value not volume. Clinicians are reluctantly spending a large chunk of their time checking boxes and documenting information that is used solely for quality reporting.
We knew things were bad, and now we know just how bad.
Health Affairs has published concrete evidence of the cost of quality reporting in a new study, in which they found that in the aggregate US physician practices in four common specialties spend more than $15.4 Billion annually to report on quality measures.
Researchers surveyed 394 leaders from four specialties – cardiology, orthopedics, primary care and general internists – and then asked how much time clinicians spent on tasks associated with collecting and reporting on quality and safety data, as well as their views on the validity of the measures.
They found that:
On average, these practices spend 785 hours of clinician time (medical assistant, nurse, doctor) or $22,049 per physician, per year
Of the practices surveyed, 81% reported that they spent more effort dealing with external quality measures than three years ago.
Only 27% said the current measures are moderately or very representative of the quality of care.
There is a ray of hope. Consolidation of measures across many programs is under way, reducing redundancy. Tools such as our Quality Reporting solution based on natural language processing and clinical reasoning represent an opportunity to greatly streamline these processes and re-focus clinician time on patient care.