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HIMSS Value Score to quantify worth of health IT

It’s difficult to predict how adopting health IT will change an organization’s productivity or quantify how well a technology measured up to its expectations. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) hopes to demystify that process and assign a value to the quality of health IT services.

HIMSS will assess health IT through its newly-developed HIMSS Value Score system. The system will attempt to define and measure how health IT products and initiatives affect organizations’ clinical, financial and operational performances. HIMSS will also monitor the outcomes produced by health IT to see if certain scenarios — such as implementing new technology — can be repeated in other healthcare facilities and produce more positive outcomes across the industry.

A group of small critical access hospitals and HIMSS’ Davies Award winners — given to healthcare organizations that excel at using health IT to improve patient care and outcomes — are among the providers that currently piloting the Value Score system. The Value Score system expands upon HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which ranks hospitals’ EHR integrations on an eight-level scale. Many providers installed and became comfortable with operating EHRs since the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009. The HITECH Act gave life to the meaningful use program, which offered financial incentives to providers that proficiently used EHR systems. EMRAM, introduced in 2005, tracked the progression of EHRs in the U.S.

“With the move towards value-based care, the international healthcare community can now look toward a broader, all-encompassing way to measure the clinical and financial value of health IT,” Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of HIMSS, said in a release.

Recent news from Massachusetts supports Lieber’s words about the industry transitioning to more value-based care. Providers affected by a value-based care agreement between four state healthcare organizations and Massachusetts Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be rewarded for keeping their patients in good health and decreasing the quantity of hospital visits. The deal involves thousands of state Blue Cross preferred provider organization members and is a clear move away from the fee-for-service care model, which pays physicians based on the frequency of patient visits and procedures.