HHS Issues Draft Strategy to Reduce Health IT Burden

December 6, 2018
Policy Snapshot

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a draft strategy designed to help reduce administrative and regulatory burden on clinicians caused by the use of health information technology (health IT) such as electronic health records (EHRs).

The draft, Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs, was led by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and was required in the 21st Century Cures Act. The draft strategy reflects the input and feedback received by ONC and CMS from clinicians and other stakeholders expressing concerns that EHR burden negatively affects the end user and ultimately the care delivery experience. This draft strategy includes recommendations that will allow physicians and other clinicians to provide effective care to their patients with a renewed sense of satisfaction for them and their patients.

Stakeholders have indicated to ONC and CMS that when they use their EHRs, clinicians must rely on checkboxes, templates, cut-and-paste functions, and other workarounds that hinder the intended benefits of EHRs. Clinicians have reported they are spending more time entering data into the EHR, leaving less time to interact with their patients. Required documentation guidelines have led to “note bloat,” making it harder to find relevant patient information and effectively coordinate a patient’s care.

Based on the input received by ONC and CMS, the draft strategy outlines three overarching goals designed 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 health care organizations
  3. Improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs

The public comment period on Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs ends on Monday January 28, 2019, at 11:59:59 PM ET.