HHS Releases Final Recommendations on Reducing Clinical Burden

March 2020 ~

In February, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released the final version of its Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs. The strategy aims to reduce clinician burden through incremental changes that will push of electronic health record (EHR) systems toward interoperability while easing regulatory burden.

This report describes examples of EHR related burden(s), as well as strategies and recommendations that HHS and other stakeholders can use, to help clinicians focus their attention on patients rather than paperwork when they use health information technology (health IT).

According to the HHS press release, the report reflects additional input from the more than 200 comments submitted in response to the draft strategy and recommendations and outlines three primary goals and offers recommendations to:

  1. Reduce the effort and time required to record information in EHRs for health care providers when they are seeing patients;
  2. Reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements for clinicians, hospitals, and health care organizations; and
  3. Improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs.

The report explains that different types of administrative burden can affect different healthcare providers, but is focused on those healthcare providers that are directly involved in the delivery of patient care. Those may include physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff; practice managers and other administrators immediately engaged in the management of care delivery; and care delivery institutions, such as hospitals.

The report provides recommendations for four key areas and offers strategies to address each area:

  • Clinical documentation – to reduce regulatory burden around documentation requirements for patient visits
  • Health IT usability (or ease of use of health IT tools and systems) – to better align EHRs with clinical workflows to improve usability, decision making, and documentation
  • Federal health IT and EHR reporting requirements – to simplify the scoring model for CMS’ promoting interoperability performance category and Medicare promoting interoperability program
  • Public health reporting (including coordination with prescription drug reporting programs and electronic prescribing of controlled substances) – Federal agencies and states should adopt common industry standards consistent with ONC and CMS policies and HIPAA rules to improve interoperability between health IT and prescription drug monitoring programs

“The strategy we are releasing today takes a hard look at ways that the federal government and stakeholders can work together to reduce the administrative and technological burdens experienced by healthcare providers,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health IT. “Patients will benefit from these efforts because their physicians will spend more time focused on them instead of their keyboards.”

For more information, access the full report, here.


Source(s): U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; HealthcareDIVE; Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs; Becker’s Hospital Review; HIT Consultant; Modern Healthcare; Joint Commission;