Nov 28 2018

HHS Unveils New Draft Guidance to Reduce Health IT Paperwork

The new strategy aims to cut down on the administrative burden related to EHRs.

Taking aim specifically at electronic health records and similar tools, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a draft guidance that seeks to cut down on the paperwork related to health IT.

Recognizing that EHRs in particular have often increased the amount of paperwork and administrative tasks clinicians must undertake — nearly one third of physicians spend 20 hours or more on these tasks per week, according to a recent survey — the draft guidance sets out to correct this.

“When using their EHRs, clinicians increasingly rely on checkboxes, templates, cut-and-paste functionality, and other workarounds that may counter the intended benefits of EHRs,” senior officials with the ONC and CMS wrote in a blog post. “We have heard from many clinicians that they continue to spend more time entering data, leaving less time for patient interaction.”

The ONC and CMS are encouraging the industry to comment on the legislation during the public comment period, which ends Jan. 28, 2019 at midnight, in order to build a well-informed strategy that can help to improve the process.

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 a statement. “With the significant growth in EHRs comes frustration caused, in many cases, by regulatory and administrative requirements stacked on top of one another. Addressing the challenge of health IT burden and making EHRs useful for patients and providers, as the solutions in this draft report aim to do, will help pave the way for value-based transformation.”


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