In a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Donald Rucker, HIMSS and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) offered their comments to the Strategy on Reducing Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs. HIMSS and AMDIS offered feedback that focused on ideas to help reduce the burdens placed on clinicians — as time and attention clinicians spend on burden resolution is time and attention diverted from patient care.
HIMSS and AMDIS want clinicians to be able to focus their time on actions that make sense, such as caring for patients and delivering better outcomes. They want to help CMS and ONC reduce burden so that practitioners can deliver better and more efficient care.
CMS and ONC should push for the continued development of demonstration and pilot programs to test different value-based service delivery and APMs in order to study the most prominent factors that mitigate clinician burden as well as how other care settings and clinicians can emulate those advances. HIMSS and AMDIS note that any action to shift toward value-base care should be made with the goal of avoiding new and different types of burden.
While the strategy document is consistent with the requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act, HIMSS and AMDIS assert the importance of health IT tools in resolving any burden-related issues in our healthcare system. When properly designed and utilized, health IT can reduce the burden associated with documentation, administrative functions, and regulatory compliance.
Full alignment of documentation and workflow requirements centers on burden reduction, and value improvement—for the patient, the clinician, as well as the healthcare delivery system as a whole. HIMSS and AMDIS want the healthcare community to evolve toward a system where clinicians can focus on documenting information and constructing workflows around delivering better care and more positive patient outcomes, rather than superior Current Procedures Terminology (CPT) or Evaluation/Management (E/M) coding. To implement such a system, they recommend the creation of several resources to help demystify documentation requirements and how they relate to coverage and reimbursement decisions.
HIMSS and AMDIS recommend that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) make a strategic research investment to study how AI can help relieve clinician burden issues. They note that the healthcare enterprise is primed for greater use of AI technologies to improve care processes and deliver more effective care to patients resulting in optimal outcomes, all while reducing the burden that many current documentation requirements place on clinicians.