ECDS Frequently Asked Questions

What is ECDS?

Electronic clinical data systems (ECDS) are databases containing health plan members’ personal health information and records of their experiences in the health care system. ECDS data may also support other activities through evidence-based decision support, quality management, outcome reporting and other ways. Data in ECDS are structured to ensure that automated quality measurement queries can be consistently and reliably executed and provide results to the care team.

How are ECDS measures different from the eMeasures in Meaningful Use?

Although the measure descriptions, names and other elements may look similar, eClinical Quality Measures (eCQM) developed for Meaningful Use are designed for providers and/or hospitals. HEDIS ECDS measures are designed for the payer/system level of reporting. Measures must be tailored to each unique setting to ensure that results reflect quality of care accurately for each intended use.

How are data for ECDS different from supplemental data?

Unlike supplemental data used in HEDIS®, data in ECDS identify eligible members for all elements of a measure’s specifications. Although the primary source of data may often be the same, ECDS measures have reporting rules.

Will ECDS measures be used for Health Plan Accreditation or Health Plan Ratings?

ECDS measures are not yet eligible for public reporting, use in accreditation or health plan ratings. They must be approved for public reporting by NCQA’s Committee on Performance Measurement (CPM) before they can be considered for use in any NCQA program.

Does ECDS reporting use claims?

Administrative claims may be considered ECDS if the payment system is automated and member claims can be accessed by a practitioner or practitioner group.

Will ECDS coverage rates be publicly reported?

NCQA will not publicly report ECDS coverage rates.

Will HEDIS measures be respecified for ECDS?

NCQA is evaluating both HEDIS measures, eCQMs and other measure concepts for inclusion in the HEDIS ECDS domain. Selected measures will be reengineered and retested, and must be approved by the CPM before being released.

What does “accessible at the point of care” mean?

A core principle of ECDS reporting is that the information needed to successfully deliver the highest-quality care must be available (through EHR-generated quality reports, electronic portals or automatically generated fax notifications) to the entire health care team responsible for managing a member’s health.

How are data transmitted between the plan and the point of care?

NCQA does not specify a file format for exchange of clinical information, but encourages adherence to the Health Level Seven International (HL7) structured document standards for comprehensive quality data (e.g., QRDA, CCD).

Can data come from multiple sources?

Transactional data from a number of ECDS can be used for measure reporting if data meet eligibility criteria for ECDS reporting can be found here.

Who determines whether “qualifies”?

Plans either review the systems with their NCQA-certified auditor or send requests for clarification on eligible systems to ecds@ncqa.org.

How do EHR vendors submit data, and to whom?

Only health plans are eligible to submit ECDS measure results to NCQA, although NCQA certifies EHR vendors to report eMeasures.

Can ECDS files be tested before submission?

NCQA is developing a software certification platform for ECDS, to align with current certification requirements for HEDIS EOC reporting.

How do vendors get the ECDS technical specifications?

HEDIS ECDS measures include a measure logic template for each section of the technical specification (where applicable), which can be found in HEDIS Volume 2: Technical Specifications. Complete digital measure packages for HEDIS ECDS measures will be released at a future date.

If a plan uses its internal case management system as a data source, does it need evidence it shared data with the provider?

The system must be verified by an NCQA-Certified auditor that the information can be accessed by all health care providers responsible for managing the member’s condition. NCQA does not specify how providers access the information, or how frequently.

If case management data are not shared with the provider, can data be a supplemental data source for the numerator?

No. Data used to report any element of an ECDS measure must be accessible by all members of the health care team (which includes the primary care provider).

HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

  • Save

    Save your favorite pages and receive notifications whenever they’re updated.

    You will be prompted to log in to your NCQA account.

  • Email

    Share this page with a friend or colleague by Email.

    We do not share your information with third parties.

  • Print

    Print this page.