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GAO reports health IT contractor lags in promoting EHRs

January 19, 2012
by Patricia Sheehan
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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week released a report noting a major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contractor has fallen behind in promoting electronic health records (EHRs).

The contractor, the not-for-profit National Quality Forum (NQF), failed to deliver five of eight projects related to EHRs activity on time, according to Nextgov, in citing the report.

Nextgov on Tuesday reported that NQF converted 113 existing quality measures to an electronic format compatible with EHRs to allow data to be exchanged. That project was not completed until this past December, despite a deadline of September 2011.

"As of August 2011, NQF had failed to meet timelines on 18 of 26 projects in nine contract categories during the first two years of the four-year HHS contract," Nextgov reported.

According to the GAO, “NQF officials stated that several factors contributed to NQF exceeding the expected time frames for the five endorsement projects, including the high volume of measures submitted for the review, the amount of time it took to harmonize measures between measure developers, and a need for additional technical expertise on review panels.”

NQF concurred with "many of the findings," clarified several issues and noted challenges the organization faced, including having to develop new software to implement health IT requirements in the contract, Nextgov reported.

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