HHS Releases Recommendations to Reduce EHR Administrative Burden

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released their “Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs,” acknowledging the administrative burden that electronic health records (EHRs) place on clinicians .

Mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, the report incorporates feedback from the public and a wide variety of stakeholders on the draft version released in November 2018. The report identified four main areas contributing to administrative burden: health information technology (IT) usability; federal health IT and EHR reporting requirements; clinical documentation; and public health reporting requirements. The agencies also offer recommendations to:

  • 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
  • improve the functionality and intuitiveness (ease of use) of EHRs

“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 health-care providers,” said Don Rucker, MD, the HHS’ 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.”

Andrew Gettinger, MD, chief clinical officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, told Modern Healthcare that while the report includes recommendations for what the federal government can do to address the problem, the private sector also needs to play a role in alleviating health IT administrative burden.

Sources: Strategy on Reducing Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs, February 21, 2020; HHS press release, February 21, 2020; Modern Healthcare, February 21, 2020.