News: HHS issues draft strategy to reduce EHR, technology burdens

CDI Strategies - Volume 13, Issue 1

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft strategy to reduce EHR burdens lists several elements related to clinical documentation principally focused on previous recommended changes to evaluation and management (E/M) documentation requirements for code assignment.

“We are considering how reforming certain administrative requirements or optimizing out-of-date requirements for health IT-enabled healthcare provider workflows can reduce the burden of clinical documentation. . . especially the guidelines for [E/M] visit codes used by most payers. . . We have heard that current ad hoc approaches to documentation within the EHR contribute to many of the burden issues in this area,” the draft states on p. 14.

The draft lists three strategies including:

  • Reduce regulatory burden around documentation requirements for patient visits.
  • Continue to partner with clinical stakeholders to encourage adoption of best practices related to documentation requirements.
  • Leverage health IT to standardize data and processes around ordering services and related prior authorization processes.

The comment period is open until January 28, HealthLeaders Media reported.

“HHS believes that the types of EHR and health IT-related burden identified in this report hinder the achievement of this vision of interoperability,” the draft strategy says. As a result, clinicians must invest additional time, which reduces the value of information, diverts clinical and financial resources from patient care, impedes innovation, and limits potential gains in improved quality of care for patients and patient safety, according to HealthLeaders Media.

The draft outlines three overarching goals aimed to reduce clinician burden:

  1. Reduce the effort and time required to record health information in EHRs for clinicians
  2. Reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements for clinicians, hospitals, and healthcare organizations
  3. Improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs

To achieve those goals, the draft lays out strategies related to clinical documentation, usability and user experience, reporting, and public health reporting.

“Usable, interoperable health IT was one of the first elements of the vision I laid out earlier this year for transforming our health system into one that pays for value,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in an accompanying news release.

Editor’s note: To read HealthLeaders Media’s coverage of this story, click here. To read the press release from HHS, click here. To read the draft strategy, click here. To read more about the push to reduce administrative burden, click here.

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