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Reflecting on the CMS Quality Conference

May 6, 2022 · Andy Reynolds

The 2022 CMS Quality Conference on April 12-13 was virtual, but the encouragement we took from the event about the future of quality improvement was real.

Here are consensus highlights from our staff who monitored the discussions:

The Twitterverse was Watching

Judging from how NCQA’s 11,600 Twitter followers and 33,000 LinkedIn connections reacted to our posts about the conference, friends of quality were keenly interested in what CMS had to say.

NCQA was proud to be among 17 official Social Media Ambassadors supporting the event. Engagement from our followers lifted NCQA to the top 10 of all social media influencers who posted about the conference.         

Follow NCQA on Twitter or connect with us on LinkedIn.

“Key Takeaways” and Areas of Overlap

This slide is a useful summary of the major themes we heard from several speakers:

We found ourselves nodding in agreement with presenters. What we heard fit or reinforces how we think HEDIS, Health Plan Accreditation and everything else at NCQA should evolve.

For example, CMS speakers pointed out that quality and equity complement each other. We mean the same thing when we say high-quality care is equitable care, and there can be no quality without equity.

Comprehensive, Consistent Strategy

With the National Quality Strategy, CMS aims to embed quality across the care journey and advance health equity and patient engagement using digital solutions.

We are encouraged by the consistency and clarity of this strategy. It matches what we’ve read and heard from CMS leaders in other forums recently. It also aligns with where NCQA is headed.

This slide summarizes the 8 goals that compose the CMS approach:

Benefits of Re-Envisioned Quality listed on the following slide mirror what we envision as the Future of HEDIS. Health equity, digital quality and aligning measurement are just three areas where the vision of CMS and our vision for HEDIS are in sync.

A New “25” Caught our Eye

There was less discussion compared to last year’s conference about converting to digital measures by 2025. But discussion of another “25” drew our attention: CMS aims for at least 25% of quality measures in its programs to be patient-reported or patient-centered.

That emphasis encourages NCQA Senior Research Scientist Caroline Blaum and her team to double down on studying person-driven outcomes and developing the next generation of patient-reported outcome measures. Caroline’s a geriatrician who leads our work on hospital at home and measuring what matters to older adults.   

Let’s Learn About Learning

The following slide showing elements of a learning health system is one we plan to return to and use in our staff education.  

It appeals to us because a health system that learns is a key benefit of NCQA’s vision for digital quality.

This CMS model of a learning health system shows almost 20 separate elements. We may focus on particular pieces. But it’s useful to see such a complete picture from CMS:

Will COVID make the 2023 CMS Quality Conference the third in a row that’s virtual? We’ll attend, regardless.

Meanwhile, we look forward to staying in touch and aligned with CMS. This year’s conference confirmed that our organizations are on congruent paths.

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