The largest, most comprehensive electronic repository for physical therapy outcomes is ready to move from planning to reality with the announcement of a collaboration between APTA and Durham, North Carolina-based Quintiles.
According to a joint news release, APTA and Quintiles will be working together to develop the Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry, an initiative that will be "unlike any other existing physical therapy registry.” Among other features, the registry will provide data “across the continuum of care" and "will align with current and future quality and compliance programs required by payers, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System."
APTA and Quintiles describe the registry as a "hub and spoke" system in which outcomes information from a wide range of sources will be aggregated across patient populations and clinical settings. APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, said that the registry aims to become "the most comprehensive database for demonstrating the value of physical therapy in the near future and will further the development of standards of practice and quality reporting requirements."
Recruitment of users for a pilot version of the registry will begin in the third quarter of 2014, with a full launch planned for early 2015.
“Working together with APTA and leveraging our expertise in designing and implementing registries, our goal is to build a new registry that will provide clinicians and practices with benchmark data to improve healthcare delivery and achieve better patient outcomes,” said Cynthia Verst, president of Real-World & Late Phase Research at Quintiles.
The association selected Quintiles for this initiative based on Quintiles’ experience in post-marketing research, multistakeholder strategy, and systems-oriented registry design and development. Quintiles is world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services, with a network of more than 29,000 employees conducting business in approximately 100 countries.
“APTA is in a unique position to help physical therapists comply with requirements by payers, employers, certification boards, healthcare facilities, and other entities to ensure participation, accreditation, and adherence,” said Rockar. “We are committed to providing data to advance physical therapist practice, education, and research, and look forward to working with Quintiles in this endeavor.”
By 2024, health care consumers will access, manage, and share their own health care data with multiple providers through a "seamless" set of technologies; primary care providers will access patient genetic information and research on medication efficacy to pinpoint the best treatments for individual patients; and all participants in the health care system—including patients—will contribute to a massive body of data that can be used to further research.
That's the plan, at least, according to a recently released vision statement (.pdf) from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency charged with making those goals a reality. The ONC document shares, in broad strokes, the "consistent, incremental, yet comprehensive" approach it will take to make the use of health IT ubiquitous and easy-to-use.
The "interoperable health IT infrastructure" report outlines goals for the next 3, 6, and 10 years that put emphasis on hammering out the technical aspects of interoperability in the earlier stages of development, and growing the use of an integrated system by way of policy and business practice changes later on. At every point along the way, the report states, work will be guided by 10 principles, among them a respect for the differing needs of health care providers and institutions, an acknowledgement that change will occur at different rates for different groups, and an understanding that privacy and security must be a central consideration in any new approach.
ONC admits that the road ahead could be a long one given the current state of health IT. "It is not the norm that electronic health information is shared beyond groups of health care providers who subscribe to specific services or organizations," write the report's authors. "Electronic health information is also not sufficiently standardized to allow seamless interoperability, as it is still inconsistently expressed with vocabulary, structure, and format, thereby limiting the potential uses of the information to improve health and care. We must learn from the important lessons and local successes."
Still, these are issues that can be overcome, according to the vision plan. "HHS is fully committed to ensuring ubiquitous, standards-based interoperability of health information across all care settings through a multi-year approach," authors write. "No one person, organization, or government agency alone can realize this vision of an interconnected health system. But together, we can achieve the promise and potential of health information technology to improve the health of all."
ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004 and was legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009.
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