HHS released a comprehensive strategy to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden related to the use of health IT, including EHRs. Reflective of public comment, the Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burdens Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs targets burdens tied to regulatory and administrative requirements that HHS can directly impact through the rulemaking process.
Based on stakeholder input, the final report outlines three overarching goals designed to reduce clinician burden:
- Reduce the effort and time required to record health information in EHRs for clinicians;
- Reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements for clinicians, hospitals, and healthcare organizations; and
- Improve the functionality and ease of use of EHRs.
Reducing unnecessary regulatory burden will alleviate time spent on administrative tasks. The documentation guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E/M) visits were a source of EHR-related burden and overly complicated. The requirements force physicians spend hours after clinic sessions and on weekends entering data to satisfy billing and quality reporting requirements. Poor usability features within EHRs can further exacerbate this issue, as clinicians find it difficult to navigate long records within the EHR interface. Based on this feedback, the report covers four key areas:
- 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 claims that when the changes to E/M documentation guidelines go into effect, providers will save approximately 2.3 million hours per year.