Introduction to Electronic Clinical Quality Improvement

A Gentle Introduction to eCQI

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) are working to improve the health of our nation by transforming care from a volume-based, provider-centered system to a patient-centered, learning health system. This work includes participating in the National Quality Strategy and improving care given to patients by measuring how patients are treated and, most importantly, how well those patients do afterward. Electronically enabled clinical quality improvement (eCQI) provides common standards and shared technologies promoted by CMS and ONC to monitor and analyze the quality of health care provided to patients and patient outcomes.

The current eCQI ecosystem is primarily focused on electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) that look back at recent activities to determine whether the evidence-based standard of care was adhered to for each patient. The next stage of quality improvement for healthcare transformation consists of advanced clinical decision support (CDS).   Rather than limiting quality improvement to retrospective measurement, CMS and ONC are moving to provide standards to express CDS that uses evidence-based medicine and the patient’s own history, preferences, and data to customize care recommendations and actions for each individual patient. ONC’s Health IT enabled quality vision outlines how these innovations will ensure more consistent care across the nation, while facilitating better care aligned to evidence-based guidelines, less documentation burden to care providers and ultimately, better patient outcomes.

CMS and many private payers are committed to payment models that reward this transformation by incentivizing better outcomes and lower costs through quality improvements and efficiencies that better address patient needs and preferences.

CMS and ONC support this transformation by working to align measure components, tools, and standards and  through the use of Kaizens. The tools and resources referenced within this website are openly available and are provided for stakeholder use. They provide a foundation for the development, testing, certification, implementation, reporting and continuous evaluation of eCQMs and CDS tools.

Visit ONC's Health IT-enabled Clinical Quality Improvement Tools for Providers to better understand 'What eCQI is and How It Can Help You'.

Visit the Engagement Page for opportunities to become active in the eCQI Community.