On November 28, 2018, HHS issued a draft strategy report to help reduce administrative and the regulatory burden on clinicians caused by the use of health IT. The development of the report was led by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) in partnership with CMS as required in the 21st Century Cures Act.
One section of the report, specially discusses EHR reporting and looks at the EHR-related burden associated with federal programs requiring healthcare providers to report performance data using health IT. As reported, the required documentation guidelines have led to “note bloat” making it harder to find relevant patient information and effectively coordinate a patient’s care.
Stakeholders have indicated to ONC https://www.healthit.gov and CMS https://www.cms.gov that when clinicians use their EHRs, they have to rely on checkboxes, templates, cut-and-paste functions, and other workarounds that hinder the intended benefits of EHRs.
Also reported, the current design and administration of these specific programs as related to EHRs can burden clinicians in a number of ways. These can include regulatory requirements and timelines that are often misaligned across programs and are subject to frequent updates and government requirements.
The draft report suggests ways to improve EHR reporting:
- Incentivize innovative uses of health IT and interoperability to reduce reporting burdens
- Develop new health IT measures that focus on interoperability and develop electronic data collection that aligns with clinical workflow
- Continue to provide states with federal Medicaid funding for health IT systems and promote interoperability among Medicaid healthcare providers
- Recognize industry approved best practices for data mapping to improve data accuracy and to reduce administrative financial burdens associated with health IT reporting
- Adopt additional data standards to make access to data and extraction of data from health IT systems so that it is easier to integrate data across multiple health IT systems and easier to analysis data
- Implement an open API approach to HHS electronic administrative systems to promote integration with existing health IT products
- Continue to evaluate the current landscape and future directions of electronic quality measurements and provide a roadmap towards increased electronic reporting through the eCQM Strategy Project
- Explore alternate, less burdensome approaches to electronic quality measurement through pilot programs and reporting program incentives
For more information on the draft document, go to https://www.healthit.gov. The public is encouraged to comment on the draft with comments due by Monday January 28, 2019.