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AAOS Offers Recommendations on Proposed EHR Reporting Program

On August 24, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT released a Request for Information (RFI) on reporting criteria for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Program, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act.

The AAOS recently sent a response to ONC detailing important recommendations to consider when implementing the EHR Reporting Program, which provides a new avenue for ensuring EHRs work to improve clinical care. AAOS wrote that it believes, when properly designed and utilized, health information technology (health IT), such as EHRs, Personal Health Records (PHRs), e-prescribing (eRx), and secure messages can improve patient safety, increase clinical efficiency, reduce costs, provide for the seamless transfer of vital patient information, and allow physicians to better utilize their time and expertise treating patients.

That said, many improvements need to be made with respect to EHR usability, utility, and the ability for clinicians to meaningfully choose EHR products that work best for them and their patients. In ONC’s own Report to Congress on Health Information Blocking, it acknowledged that providers are left to compare and shop in “a marketplace that is opaque and in which acquirers often lack up-front information.”

AAOS agreed that more needs to be done to provide adequate information to providers and touched on several areas:

  1. Certified Health IT Products List (CHPL) should be more consumer and physician-centric

    The ONC currently maintains this CHPL for consumers and physicians to have a fuller picture of the products they may be interested in purchasing, and to generate greater transparency around those products. Unfortunately, the list contains information that is more technical in nature and removed from the clinical decisions that may prompt a clinician to choose a specific EHR. AAOS submitted recommendations for ONC to remedy this issue.

  2. Create a comprehensive, continuous feedback loop for assessing certified health IT products

    AAOS also provided feedback on the static nature of products listed on the CHPL and known in general. AAOS made the recommendation for ONC to develop surveys for soliciting consumer and physician feedback around health IT and EHR products. Some examples of information ONC could collect are the number of clicks and average amount of fields required to perform a given task.

Ultimately, it is critical that ONC ensures that any changes made to an EHR Reporting Program reduce provider burden, instead of worsening the existing problem. By incorporating physician-input throughout these discussions, ONC can ensure that health IT is successful and enhances clinical decisions that are best suited for patient and practice needs.

The ONC 2015 report to Congress on health information blocking can be found here.

The AAOS’ full comments on the ONC EHR reporting program can be found here.