To reduce clinician burden, 'decouple' physicians from billing requirements, AMIA says

The American Medical Informatics Association penned a letter Jan. 28 to officials at HHS' ONC and CMS, encouraging the agencies to revisit aspects of the draft strategy they released in November 2018.

ONC and CMS' draft strategy aims to help reduce administrative and regulatory burdens placed on clinicians by inefficient health IT processes. The strategy outlined three overarching issues related to clinician burden — documentation, regulatory reporting and usability issues in EHRs — and proposed solutions to address them.

In its response, AMIA said it "strongly supports" the strategy overall.

However, AMIA also recommended that ONC and CMS work with providers, payers and IT developers to reorient its long-term strategy to focus on the importance of "decoupling" clinical documentation from billing, regulatory and administrative compliance requirements.

"The core challenge and dominant threat to [ONC and CMS'] strategy is that most EHRs are designed to support transaction-based, fee-for-service billing requirements and business processes for regulatory/administrative compliance, rather than reflect clinical observation and treatment," the letter reads.

"The design of EHRs — and the workflows such EHR designs compel — can be traced to a multiplicity of regulations and programs that are both deep-seated and arcane."

To address this issue, AMIA suggested HHS create an authoritative body of professional and specialty societies to assess clinical documentation requirements, evaluate technology's ability to extract this data today, and define a financial mechanism to compensate clinicians and hospitals for their work.

To read AMIA's letter in its entirety, click here.

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