National Nurses Month 2023: Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Quality Measures

Happy Nurses Month 2023! This week’s focus is Recognition. According to the American Nurses Association, it is a way to “honor the work of nurses who lead, excel, and innovate in our healthcare systems and our communities, making them vital to transforming the future of healthcare.”

Nurses have always played a key role in clinical quality measurement. Florence Nightingale herself is frequently thought of as the original informatics nurse because she gathered and used patient data to identify problems and measure improvement. In today’s world, data is collected in electronic health records (EHRs) through the documentation of bedside care. The data is then applied to quality measures and used for quality reporting and quality improvement.

Clinical quality measures have evolved over the years from chart-abstracted to electronic capture. The first step in this evolution was the move to electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs). eCQMs are specified in a computer-readable format to be electronically extracted from EHRs. While they have reduced the burden of manual abstraction, they still require human intervention for reporting. Many measures are now transitioning to digital quality measures (dQMs). dQMs are specified using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard and allow FHIR-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to transmit and receive quality measure data directly from the EHR.

At Lantana, our nurses are on the front lines of this digital transformation of healthcare. Our work directly supports both CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative and CMS’s Meaningful Measures 2.0 (transitioning all quality measures used in CMS reporting programs to dQMs). On any given day, you will find us mapping FHIR data elements to the clinical concepts used in quality measures, reviewing value sets for appropriateness and accuracy in representing the clinical concept, gathering clinical requirements for quality measurement, updating standardized electronic format for machine computing, analyzing electronically extracted data, and much more. We work across teams and with multiple stakeholders to ensure the quality measures are accurate, up-to-date, and valid.

So, this week, take a moment to recognize the important role nurses play in all aspects of healthcare—from the bedside to the computer.