National Nurses' Union Calls for End of EHR Incentive Program

In response to the Food and Drug Administration's proposed framework for the regulation of health IT products, National Nurses United is calling on CMS to halt the meaningful use program to stop the rapid adoption of a technology the national union considers unproven and potentially detrimental to patient safety: electronic health records.

According to NNU, CMS has paid out billions in EHR incentive payments despite a lack of evidence EHRs improve care quality. Anecdotal evidence from NNU members suggests EHRs may be compromising patient safety: "[Member nurses] witness first-hand the serious problems and unanticipated risks that patients are subjected to as EHRs and computerized decision support systems are rolled out in our hospitals with too little training, testing or safeguards and even less thought to the potentially catastrophic consequences for patients of system errors and outright failures," according to the comments to the FDA.

Because of these safety issues, the NNU called on CMS to stop incentivizing providers to purchase and implement EHRs. "NNU thinks that CMS should halt the EHR incentive program unless and until we have unbiased, robust research showing that EHRs can and do, in fact, improve patient health and save lives," according to the comments.

The comments also criticized the FDA for proposing less oversight for EHRs and similar technologies.

In May, NNU launched a national campaign to highlight the EHR dangers expressed in the comments to the FDA. The campaign characterizes EHRs as untested and unreliable, and encourages patients to "insist on a registered nurse" for their care.

More Articles on EHR Incentives:

CMS: MU2 Attestations Tick Up to 8
In Defense of EHRs: 5 Thoughts From AMA's New President Dr. Robert Wah
Health IT's Effect on Inter-Hospital Competition

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