Athena Launches Data Exchange for Large-Scale Quality Reporting

10-7-2013 9-53-44 PM

Athenahealth announces a partnership with the American College of Physicians, and CECity, a cloud-based data registry company, to create a health information exchange and a new national quality database. The American College of Physicians is the second-largest physician group in the country, representing 137,000 internal medicine specialists.

For Athena’s customers that are also ACP members, the new exchange will facilitate automated back-end quality reporting that requires no additional effort on their part. Data is extracted from Athena’s cloud-based EHR database, and transmitted through an interface with CECity, to a database that will be maintained by ACP. The data exchange will be free to all Athena customers, and will allow those physician to attest for stage 2 of the meaningful use program by fulfilling all of the meaningful use quality data reporting requirements. Athena reports that more than half of its customers are ACP members and so the partnership will allow a majority of Athena customers to fulfill their MU related quality reporting requirements.

"We believe data exchange should be a core service embedded in health information technology (HIT) to satisfy things like Meaningful Use, but more importantly to advance the delivery of high-quality, well-coordinated care." – Doran Robinson, vice president of  healthcare transactions at Athenahealth.

Beyond helping physicians with meaningful use attestation, the data registry that will be created through the exchange will become the backbone of a new quality and performance improvement initiative being undertaken by ACP. Called the ACP Genesis Registry, the database will initially only accept data from Athena customers, but will eventually expand to accept data from a variety of other EHRs.

The information being reported will be used by ACP to create online performance monitors for each participating practice. The monitors will provide user-friendly views of a physicians performance, benchmarked against national benchmarks established by ACP. Areas prime for improvement will be highlighted and analyzed, and will be linked to tangible evidence-based recommendations aimed at driving improvement. The entire initiative will be free to ACP members.

Athena has been a vocal advocate for using its healthcare data to bring about clinical and operational improvement. The company was a founding member of CommonWell, a vendor-backed national health information exchange. Later, when the government shutdown that took place this fall resulted in the CDC ceasing their influenza tracking program, Athena stepped in to provide real-time reporting of the same information, which they culled from their 40 million patient, nationally representative, database. The company calls its database its third most valuable resource, behind its clients and its coworkers.

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