Structure, strategy key to implementing IMPACT Act standards

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Long-term care providers work with four “building blocks” of standards under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, experts said during a McKnight's Super Tuesday webcast.

The IMPACT Act, which was signed into law in October 2014, requires standardized patient assessment data for care coordination, discharge planning and interoperability. Interoperability improves patient safety and service quality, but the journey can be a long road, said Lynn Perrine, MSN, RN, a nursing informaticist at Latana Consulting Group

“We can't do it all at once – it is an incremental process that we will take one step at a time,” Perrine said. “The important thing is to get the data flowing, and get structure.”

One important step into getting that structure is adopting an electronic health records system that has the ability to support and produce documents for exchanging data and measuring quality, advised Zabrina Gonzaga, MSN, RN, manager of clinical analysis and policy at Lantana Consulting Group.

The four standard document types make up the “building blocks” of interoperability include:

  • Clinical document architecture: an internal standard to communicate clinical information like patient info, medications, allergies and plan of care

  • Quality data model: an information model for electronic measures, used to record single category like medication

  • Health quality measure format: a standard structure for constructing an electronic quality measure

  • Quality reporting document architecture: specifies how to assemble and submit reports to quality or other organizations. These can be broken down into single-patient reports, and aggregate reports that show deidentified data from more than one patients

The main goal of implementing IMPACT Act standards should be communicating information in a common way, using common language, Gonzaga said.

“That common language will allow for interoperability with folks in your setting, folks outside of your setting,” Gonzaga said. “It's going to be a long road and the changes will take place slowly, but the intent of that IMPACT Act is really to push the ability to compare quality across different settings.”

To view an archived version of the webcast, click here.