Holy MACRA!

Karen Snyder

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A lot has been written about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, better known as MACRA, since it was published in October 2016. The intent of this legislation seems fairly straight forward: to provide patients with cost-effective, valued-based care. At a mere 2,400 pages, my initial response was, “Holy MACRA!” However, now that we’ve entered 2017, the transition year, and I’ve had the opportunity to read up on the Act and become familiar with its core tenants, I’m optimistic about the potential success the rule will have in creating a healthcare culture where reimbursements to doctors are based on quality and value and not simply on the volume of care.

For years I have been amazed by the lack of accurate, consistent, comprehensive or reliable patient data at many healthcare institutions. Poor quality data due to the lack of systematic data quality management clearly has broad organizational impacts, with consequences ranging from disruptive or even dangerous breaks in the care process, to the impact on a health system’s reputation. Accordingly, managing the quality and integrity of data must be a continual process, not just a one-and-done project. And, it requires formalized oversight and management – so you can toss the notion of divine intervention to the curb.

In addition, the heightened need for accurate and reliable data has never been more important given the emerging focus on Information Governance. Healthcare organizations must recognize information as a strategic asset if they want to deliver superior patient care, focus on big data analytics, ensure accurate billings and manage the revenue cycle. Identifying, remediating, and preventing duplicate patient records is critical to ensure proper identity management and the completeness and accuracy of data capture in a patient’s health record.

While much is uncertain about the future state of healthcare reform, there is one thing that holds true – data cleanliness is next to godliness.

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