Developer Tools Introduction
The Quality Payment Program (QPP) provides opportunities for developers to build software that integrates directly with CMS applications and data. There are two opportunities for developers to integrate their software with applications and data from CMS: the QPP Submissions API and the QPP Measures Data Repository.
What is an API?
An Application Programming Interface, or API, is a set of software instructions and standards that allows machine-to-machine communication. An organization can use an API to retrieve data and use it in their own tools.
For example, if you see a real estate site using maps from an external site, the real estate site is using the external site’s API to show maps for the real estate company’s properties. Instead of creating the maps themselves or updating them manually, the real estate company is using the API to pull data directly from the external site.
Why Would I Use These APIs?
CMS encourages clinicians and third parties to use these APIs in place of prior submission methods (e.g., file upload). APIs create new value users and CMS in several ways:
- APIs offer a more transparent and efficient way to submit performance data than with prior programs
- APIs will provide real-time scoring and feedback on submitted data
- Industry partners, like EHRs and registries, can build APIs directly into their products, which enhances their ability to work more effectively with CMS
- You can use APIs without any CMS-specific certification or registration. However, anyone using the APIs will have to register for an API key. Specifications for retrieving an API key will be available soon.
- The APIs efficiently handle high submission volume, eliminating the slow performance and downtimes experienced with previous submission methods.
CMS encourages clinicians and third parties to use these APIs in place of prior submission methods (e.g., file upload). However, other submission methods are available for QPP.
Who Can Use These APIs?
Anyone who is eligible to participate in QPP, or any entity authorized to report on behalf of someone who is eligible, such as Qualified Registries, Qualified Clinical Data Registries, EHR products, and EHR data submission vendors, can use the APIs. There is no new certification or registration process specific to the use of the APIs.
API calls will be subject to authentication and authorization. Specifications for this functionality will be available soon.
What Can I Do with the Submissions API?
Developers can use the QPP Submissions API to submit QPP performance data to CMS through direct software interaction, instead of manually. API submissions are subject to the same policy guidelines, data retention, scoring rules and timeframes that apply to all QPP submissions.
Submit QPP Data
When you report data via the APIs, CMS will provide immediate, clear, and actionable feedback. By providing immediate feedback, the APIs enable customers to be confident that they reported their data successfully. If there is a problem with the submission, customers will get the issue specifics right away – and be able to address them immediately. The APIs will also return the preliminary score for your submission. Knowing the score at the time when customers submit the data enables them to know where they stand throughout the process.
Modify, Append and Review Your QPP Submission
You can update or supplement the data you submit via the APIs after the initial submission as long as the submissions window is still open. The system will log changes as you submit them and this log will be accessible via a future API endpoint. You will be able to view the data submitted via the APIs in prior QPP Program Years after the submission window for that Program Year closes.
We have a sandbox environment where developers can test integrating the APIs into their software and data using the APIs.
What is the QPP Measures Data Repository?
The complete list of Advancing Care Information (ACI), Improvement Activities (IA), and quality measures for the QPP Transition Year (2017) is available in the qpp-measures-data repository. Each measure contains a description and additional information regarding attestation (reporting) and scoring requirements.
What can I do with this repository?
You can integrate with the qpp-measures-data Node Package Manager (NPM) module to import measures data into your own codebase and work with it through direct software interaction.
Why Would I Use This Repository?
Previously, if you were building a site with a list of measures, you would need to add each measure to the site manually. When CMS updated the measures, the information on your site would become out of date, unless you manually updated it. Using this repository, you can set up your site so that it requests the measures you want to display, and when CMS makes updates to those measures, these changes can then automatically appear on your site (as long as you reference the latest version of the NPM module).
You can use both the QPP Measures Data Repository and the QPP Submissions APIs today.
There is a Google Group where developers can interact with one another to ask questions, find answers, leave feedback and share experiences using these APIs. Developers who are unable to find answers using the Google Group, or who have questions related to policy, should contact the QPP Service Center.