AMA looks back on EHRs and progress in 2015: 5 takeaways

The American Medical Association has never been more vocal and active in the battle to make physicians' voices heard than it was in 2015. In a round up on the multitude of ways EHRs "tied up physician time" this year, the AMA included a run down of efforts won, lost and those still in progress.

Here are five takeaways from the AMA's report on the top ways EHRs tied up physician time in 2015.

• A fall study by the AMA and MedStar Health found only three of the 20 most common EHR products met the basic capabilities for user-centered design.
• An American EHR Partners survey released in the summer showed that physicians think EHR investments are not offering substantial returns, and that the technology is impractical and results in increased clerical workloads rather than patient face time.
• Though the AMA found some immediate improvement in meaningful use stage 2, such as a shortened reporting period for 2015 and a reduced overall number of physician reporting measures, they were finalized too late in the year, according to the report. New regulations for meaningful use stage 3 will make achieving requirements even less realistic than they were for stage 2. Following the release of the stage 3 final rule, 111 medical associations, including the AMA, sent letters to the U.S. House and Senate voicing concerns and calling for an intervention.
• The Break the Red Tape campaign was launched, including town hall-style meetings on EHR and meaningful use critiques in Atlanta and Boston and an aggressive web-campaign to bring visibility to physicians' concerns about EHRs. Members of Congress stepped forward to call for a delay in finalizing meaningful use stage 3 following these efforts.
• The AMA launched a new collaborative space, the AMA Interaction Studio at MATTER in Chicago, in which vendors will work with IT developers to create solutions that include physician input and feedback.

In 2016, the AMA will continue to push its Break the Red Tape campaign and urge Congress to intervene in "the meaningful use disaster in the months ahead." Additionally, the AMA plans to grow its Physician Innovation Network, which is currently in beta development, its STEPS Forward modules, and its Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technology — SMART — project.

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