AMIA Unveils Recommendations for Advancing EHRs by 2020

May 29, 2015 in News

On Friday, the American Medical Informatics Association released a report with several recommendations to accelerate the development of electronic health records over the next five years and better support patient-centric care, MedCity News reports (Versel, MedCity News, 5/29).

Report Details

The recommendations, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, came from its EHR-2020 Task Force (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 5/29).

AMIA President and CEO Douglas Fridsma, who previously worked as chief science officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, said that while the meaningful use program has led to incremental improvement of EHRs, they health system “need[s] to accelerate toward a final end state, not just the next step.”

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Task force Chair Thomas Payne said that the report is intended to provide “practical solutions” and “generate the thoughtful conversations and innovations that will make what is possible, real for all patients” (Healthcare IT News, 5/29).

Task Force Recommendations

The report outlined created five broad focus areas that policymakers and health IT developers should use to help EHRs foster better patient care by 2020 (Payne et al., JAMIA, 5/29). The five focus areas are:

  1. Increasing and simplifying clinical documentation speed;
  2. Refocusing government regulations;
  3. Increasing EHR certification transparency;
  4. Spurring innovation; and
  5. Supporting person-centered care delivery by 2020 (Healthcare IT News, 5/29).

The task force said that it “recommend[s] a focus on these five areas during the next six to 12 months, while [it] develop[s] a long-term framework for innovation for EHRs.”

Within those five categories, the task force offered 10 recommendations:

  1. Decrease the data entry burden for clinicians;
  2. Separate data entry from data reporting;
  3. Enable EHRs to assist with research and systemic learning at the point of care during typical practice for the purposes of care delivery and billing;
  4. Focus regulations on simplifying and clarifying EHR certification procedures, advancing interoperability and data exchange, and reducing the need to re-enter data and prioritize patient outcome metrics;
  5. Alter reimbursement regulations to “support novel changes and innovation in EHR systems” (MedCity News, 5/29);
  6. Increase flexibility and transparency in the EHR certification process to help improve patient safety and EHR usability;
  7. Ensure providers, vendors and health care organizations are “fully transparent about unintended consequences and new safety risks introduced by health information technology systems” and share “best practices for mitigating these risks”;
  8. Have EHR vendors use application programming interfaces and follow open data standards;
  9. Integrate EHRs into all health care settings, including long-term care and behavioral care; and
  10. Design EHR interfaces to be more intuitive (JAMIA, 5/29).

The task force wrote, “The problems we face today in EHR use are complex, and solutions will not be simple or quick. Solving these problems will require regulatory stability, the development of an acceptable threshold ‘barrier to entry’ into the EHR marketplace and a supportive national policy” (MedCity News, 5/29).

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