Monthly news & updates for Direct Difference, Inc abstractors
January 2019

January Happy Birthdays

Sarah Kennedy - January 12
Brandy Lokey - January 14
Sharon Iacopino - January 27

Know Someone That Could Use Our Services? Earn a Referral Bonus!

You can get $100 referral bonus for referring someone to Direct Difference. You can get another $500 if they sign a contract with us. WOW!

Did you know we provide abstraction services for core measures, non-core measures, registry, OPPE-FPPE, NHSN, peer review, pharmaceutical studies and others? If you know a facility that has ANY data abstraction needs please contact us for more information. All you have to do is respond to this email to get started!
Health IT Update
A Clearwater Compliance report has identified the three most common cybersecurity risks facing hospitals and health systems that account for almost 37% of all critical risk incidents. These are endpoint leakage; excessive user permissions; and user authentication deficiencies, such as posting user passwords on monitors or under keyboards and using generic user IDs and passwords.

Outreach and Education

Prepare for the launch of the Chest Pain – MI Registry version 3, coming in early 2019, with a new course in the NCDR Learning Center. The free course,  Chest Pain – MI Registry Introduction to Version 3 , will help participants become familiar with the scope of the version 3 dataset, available resources and the details involved with all aspects of data abstraction. Participants will learn to:
  • Capture complete Chest Pain – MI Registry version 3 data per each patient population and apply randomized sampling methodology consistently;
  • Submit complete and accurate data using the version 3 dataset and selected data submission options; and
  • Streamline data abstraction by implementing data collection tool special features and interoperability between NCDR programs.
To get started, login to  NCDR , click on "Resources" in the left menu, and then click on "Learning Center." 
Quality Reporting News
Inpatient :

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)/The Joint Commission Specifications Manual for National Hospital Inpatient Quality Measures, version 5.6, for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program, has been posted to  QualityNet  ( ). Version 5.6 of the manual is for implementation with cute inpatient discharges from July 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019. Updates have been made based on ongoing alignment discussions between CMS and The Joint Commission.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Hospital Inpatient Value, Incentives, and Quality Reporting (VIQR) Outreach and Education Support Contractor (SC) announce the availability of updated resources for Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting (IPFQR) Program participants.

The  IPFQR Program Manual  provides a comprehensive overview of the IPFQR Program and measure specifications. The  IPFQR Program Paper Tools  provide an optional, informal abstraction mechanism to assist IPFs in the collection of data for the IPFQR Program.

All of the resources mentioned above are located on the  IPFQR Program Resources and Tools  webpage of the  Quality Reporting Center   website. These resources will be available on the  IPFQR Program Resources page of the  QualityNet  website at a later date.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released topic-specific documents pertaining to universal (alphabetical) abstraction and the CMS Abstraction and Reporting Tool (CART). These documents will be effective for January 1 through June 30, 2019 discharges.

Separate documents are provided for the following:
·         Universal (Alphabetical) Abstraction Paper Tools, where the data elements are arranged in alphabetical order, rather than tool-specific order

·         CART Abstraction Paper Tools, where the data elements are arranged in CART order

These documents are available on  QualityNet  at  by selecting the  [Hospitals­­-Inpatient]  tab; the  [Data Collection (& CART)]  link; the  [Abstraction Resources]  link; the  [For Discharges 01/01/2019–06/30/2019] link in the Guidelines drop-down box; and then the Go button.

Outpatient :

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that an addendum to the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program Specifications Manual  version 11.0b  is required for encounters beginning  January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018 .

A complete list of the Specifications Manual changes may be found in the Release Notes  Version 11.0b.  The  version   11.0b Addendum  may be accessed at . Select the Hospitals – Outpatient tab > Specifications Manual > and then  version 11.0b  in the table.
American Heart Association GWTG Resuscitation

Get with the Guidelines-Resuscitation: Incidence Measures Overview
Monday January 7, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00pm CST

In the most recent program update, AHA introduced nine new elements to track incidence measures data. This important webinar will give you an overview of how these new elements will help your hospital gather valuable insight into when and where events occur, perform more in-depth incidence reports and more closely compare your events with other similar hospitals. Presenters, Dr. Dana P. Edelson, MD, MS and Jeanette Previdi, MPH, BSN, RN, CPPS will discuss the IOM recommendations which lead to this update, as well as the technical aspects within the Patient Management Tool to help you get started tracking and learning from your incident data.

 Happy Anniversary!
A big thank you to these valuable team members for their commitment to make Direct Difference, Inc the leader in healthcare abstraction services!

Cathleen Coding - 1 year
Gloria Martin - 2 years

American Heart Association Afib

AFib Best Practice Series: Raising the Bar for CHA2DS2 - VASc Risk Assessment webinar on Jan 16, 2019 at 12:00 PM CST.

Dr. James Allred of Moses Cone Health and Dr. Vinay Mehta, of Aurora BayCare Medical Center will discuss best practice strategies for CHA2DS2-VASc score documentation.

This webinar provides guidance and tools to cardiac team members, clinicians, healthcare staff, hospital administrators and policymakers to advance and improve electrophysiology services to achieve optimal inpatient atrial fibrillation care delivery and patient outcomes in hospitals.

Medicare Re-admissions Project Tied To Higher Mortality Rates
Implementation of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program was followed by higher mortality rates for Medicare patients with heart failure and pneumonia, but not heart attack, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was based on data for 8 million Medicare hospitalizations for the three conditions.

Excellence   Expertise   Experience
That’s how we make a Direct Difference!
Mandy Budny, RN, MSN, CPHQ | Direct Difference, Inc | 520-442-0016 [email protected]