Data Aggregator Validation Launches: Helps Ensure Accurate Clinical Data

August 12, 2021 · Matt Brock

It’s good to be on board.

Healthcare’s digital revolution is well underway, and NCQA has launched a new program that helps organizations ensure clinical data is accurate. That’s a pivotal assist as the nation continues to expand its use of clinical data for quality measurement, value-based programs and closing the care gap–the inequities–for underserved populations.

This week, NCQA launched its new Data Aggregator Validation program. It enables more data and more data sources to be trusted, useful, and comparable, resulting in decreased burden, more streamlined processes between healthcare segments and improved care holding data folders transferring

NCQA’s Data Aggregator Validation program evaluates the ingestion, transformation and output of clinical data to support data integrity. This gives health plans, government entities and care delivery organizations confidence in the validity of the clinical data they are using for quality reporting, value-based contracting, closing gaps in care and other initiatives.

“We invested heavily over the past two decades to digitize clinical data in this country, and we aren’t yet getting full value from that investment because the data are inconsistent, incomplete and unvalidated,” said Brad Ryan, MD, Chief Product Officer of NCQA. “NCQA’s Data Aggregator Validation program brings trust, comparability and utility to clinical data streams for use in HEDIS and beyond.”

The program also saves organizations time and money as part of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) reporting process. Data from health information exchanges, care delivery organizations and other data aggregators are increasingly used as supplemental data for HEDIS reporting. Data streams validated by NCQA through the NCQA Data Aggregator Validation program can be used as standard supplemental data in HEDIS reporting, eliminating the need for primary source verification during the HEDIS audit process and saving time and money for provider organizations and health plans.

Data Aggregator Validation: A Team Effort

Four organizations had data streams validated as part of the pilot and early adopter programs: Hixny, HealtheConnections, HEALTHeLINK and Manifest MedEx.

Rob Hack, President and CEO, HealtheConnections, said, “The Data Aggregator Validation program is important to HealtheConnections and our participants, particularly clinical practices and health plans, because it provides real value in support of our ongoing work in quality measurement. Additionally, the program demonstrates HealtheConnections’ commitment to data quality, data governance and process that expands beyond the realm of quality measurement.”

NCQA is validating data streams through a series of cohorts. The first began in July and included data streams from the four organizations mentioned above, as well as new participants Azara Healthcare LLC, COZEVA® by Applied Research Works, Inc., CyncHealth, Diameter Health, Healthix, HealthShare Exchange, Kansas Health Information Network, Inc. (KONZA), KPI Ninja, Los Angeles Network for Enhanced Services (LANES), Stellar Health and the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN).

“We are proud to partner with NCQA in leading this important transformation effort to streamline data sharing and provide high-quality data for health plans and providers,” said Claudia Williams, CEO of Manifest MedEx. “Reducing the burden of HEDIS reporting enables plans and providers to focus on what matters most—caring for patients and their communities.”

This program is part of a broader initiative at NCQA to help make quality measurement easier, more trusted and more relevant. NCQA is partnering with QMetrics to validate data streams in two cohorts in 2021. More than 40 organizations have already requested to apply to the program. The first data streams will begin earning validation this fall.

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