QIOs help providers use health information technology (“health IT”) to improve patient care. Some of the ways they do this include:
- Helping providers leverage electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve care coordination, ensure the timely provision of preventive services, and reduce adverse events, such as drug-to-drug interactions.
- Helping providers use EHRs to submit quality of care data to federal databases. This is an important step in identifying areas for quality improvement; for evaluating progress; and for enabling patients, family members, and caregivers to make more informed health care decisions.
- Working with providers to target areas for quality improvement by analyzing data collected using health IT.
- Using data analysis to assist in identifying target communities for improvement efforts and in tracking progress. QIOs also assist in sharing data between providers and facilities statewide.
In addition to their work for the Medicare program, many QIOs serve as Regional Extension Centers (RECs) or support RECs as subcontractors, helping to realize the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s vision of achieving meaningful use of health IT by providers and patients. Meaningful use is a set of criteria established by the federal government for the purposes of payment to providers. Some QIOs also provide support for Regional Health Information Organizations and Health Information Exchanges.