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Reflections from Digital Quality Summit

The recent NCQA Digital Quality Summit dispersed quite a bit of information on how digital quality measurement can be initiated, enhanced, expanded, and grown in the coming years. Most professionals can agree- digital measurement is the future. There are quite a few hold-ups on when exactly this will come to pass. Below are some of the key take-aways from Health Data Decisions on the state of our industry's transition to digital measurement.

Focus on Rates

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Current methods for quality measurement are focused on rates, with an incentive that focuses on members most likely to become compliant. This often leaves the most vulnerable populations receiving less attention.

Without incentives that aim to target more vulnerable populations, health plans will continue to direct effort to "low hanging fruit" to gain compliance in measured rates.

Assumptions about Equity

Traditional programs to address health equity and member experience have been designed based on assumptions from health plans without asking members and vulnerable populations what they need in a program. You cannot determine what equity is, or what equity means without asking.

Focus is a Spotlight

Efforts to address the opioid crisis have overshadowed alcohol abuse disorder. Even when alcohol abuse disorder is diagnosed, only ~7% of members that are diagnosed are receiving treatment. We have mechanisms that can help health plans intervene on a population level, intervene at a scale never before seen, but our focus has become a spotlight while measurement, tracking, and intervention has come to mirror incentives or public sentiment.

Hype vs. ROI

There has been a lot of hype about digital measurement up to this point. A clear cogent path forward is needed. We are to the point in the quality industry that we need to see some return on the investment if we're going to push down the long and arduous track of fully executing on the vision of 100% digital quality measurement.

Staff Shortages

Across all industries worker shortages have had an impact, and ours is not the exception. Every level of healthcare has shuffling going on, and during an era where we're trying to do more, do it faster, better, and cheaper. Traditional models to solving healthcare delivery are sagging, and need to be re-thought. Technology and new methods of care delivery can help, but there are growing pains associated with new methods.

Patient Focus

Physicians are looking to reduce the ‘cognitive load’ required to run their business so they can focus more on patients. Healthcare delivery is becoming so complicated that for service delivery to be effective, efficient, and of high quality new resources are necessary to support providers. We take it for granted that providers have a patient centered practice, but we also forget that providers are operating as a critical part of a business.

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'Alert Fatigue'

Patients can receive hundreds of notifications a day, and are rapidly restricting notifications through the many avenues that are being incorporating into their lives. Phone, email, social, portal, mail, and via proxies.

Providers can receive hundreds of notifications an hour. EMR's have become stuffed, not to mention patient portals, email, hospital and provider group communications. These are all before the provider begins the outreach they are compelled to do with their patients. There is only so much attention that is available.


Health Data Decisions is a Massachusetts-based health analytics firm founded in 2008. We have decades of experience in the quality, risk, health plan, and vendor spaces. We are industry leaders in the transition to using Digital Quality Measurement.


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