AAFP: 7 recommendations to reduce physician EHR burden

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The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has written a letter to CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) with recommendations to reduce clinician burden.

“The AAFP maintains that the current regulatory framework with which primary care physicians must comply is daunting and often demoralizing,” stated the letter. “Physicians are forced to navigate rules and forms for each payer. As a result, physicians spend needless hours reviewing documents and literally checking boxes to meet the requirements of each health insurance plan. This is time that physicians could better spend caring for patients.”

In the letter, the AAFP lists seven recommendations addressing the clinical burden occurring from physicians using electronic health records (EHRs) and other healthcare technology. The recommendations are meant to encourage CMS and ONC to implement policies and practices to reduce regulatory burden and improve patient care.

Recommendations include:

  1. Minimize health IT utilization measures to reduce reliance on measures using an EHR compared to Meaningful Use.
  2. Update medical record documentation, such as the CMS Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services.
  3. Concentrate interoperability policies on information blocking and how data is to be exchanged.
  4. Develop a process to develop nationally recognized and consistent data models to be used across healthcare systems to address the lack of standard representation of clinical data models.
  5. Eliminate prior authorization requirements from prescription drug plans, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers and others.
  6. Standardize quality measures across public and private payers.
  7. Reduce the need for certification and documentation on the coverage of medical supplies and services.

“The AAFP has developed consensus principles on administrative simplification. Adherence to these principles will help ensure patients have timely access to treatment while reducing administrative burden on physicians,” concluded the letter. “We encourage CMS and ONC to adopt policies and practices consistent with these principles to alleviate unneeded regulatory burdens and to improve patient care.”