ABT tasked with bolstering CMS' clinical care measurements

Research firm will develop precise quality-of-care measures

Research firm ABT Associates has received a three-year, $13 million contract from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve the way the quality of clinical care in the United States is measured.

The task order calls for ABT to develop and express precise quality-of-care measures in electronic formats so they can be reported to CMS directly from hospitals’ electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to an announcement by the company dated Aug. 2.

Over the course of the project, ABT will create electronic specifications for five new clinical quality measures and 100 existing measures. The firm also will test and validate these specifications.

In addition, each year the health, social and environmental policy research firm will perform environmental scans and reviews of potential clinical quality measures suitable for electronic specification; propose revisions to data collection instruments to support electronic reporting; support CMS in related rule-making work; and serve as a resource for updates to clinical quality measures and their public reporting, the announcement states.

The task order requires the company to define existing quality measures and develop new ones so that they are clear, explicit and suitable for programming by health IT vendors and hospitals with certified EHR systems, Scott Royal, ABT’s division vice president for domestic health, said in the announcement.

The task order supports the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which is a part of the larger American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

ABT Associates Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., ranks No. 81 on Washington Technology's 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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