The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a report on ways to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens placed on providers and to help them better focus on patient care and less on paperwork, by better leveraging the use of electronic health records (EHRs).
The final report “Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs,” was created as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, with the initial draft issued in November 2018.
Signed into law in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act includes provisions that relate to the access of healthcare records and the interoperability of those records between patients and providers. As we wrote about last year, HHS is working on ways to allow for the increased exchange of healthcare data by this year.
The final report includes input from more than 200 comments resulting from the draft report.
It outlines three primary goals and offers recommendations to:
- Reduce the effort and time required to record information in EHRs for health care providers when they are seeing patients;
- Reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements for clinicians, hospitals, and health care organizations; and
- Improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs.
The report focuses on those providers who are directly involved in patient care such as physicians, nurses and other clinical staff, as well as those involved in the management of care delivery and care institutions such as hospitals.
HHS notes that the numerous advances in technology have changed the practice of medicine, but not necessarily for the better. “While it has made an unprecedented amount of information about patients available to them, technology has yet to make the practice of medicine easier for physicians and other health care professionals,” the report notes.
HHS went on to note that, “Although clinicians and other healthcare providers point to the implementation, use, and regulation of health IT and the EHR as a key support tool for care delivery, it remains a source of ongoing frustration. They argue that the EHR has introduced new challenges or failed to address existing ones, despite intending to improve the practice and experience of medicine.”
The report looked at four key areas and offered strategies to address each:
- Clinical documentation
- Health IT usability (or ease of use of health IT tools and systems)
- Federal health IT and EHR reporting requirements
- Public health reporting (including coordination with prescription drug reporting programs and electronic prescribing of controlled substances).
HHS is focused on strategies that meet the following criteria:
- They should be achievable three to five years.
- HHS should be able to either implement these strategies through existing or easily expanded authority, or should have significant ability to influence the implementation of these strategies.
- They should include actions that improve the clinical documentation experience and improve patient care.
The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale can assist clients in understanding how the changes might impact your practice. If you have any questions, contact us at 305-358-4500 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.