An independent group of healthcare experts has called upon Congress to reconsider CMS’ “meaningful use” program to finance electronic health records (EHRs) for hospitals and physicians since it is not furthering Congress’ goal of improving patient care. The Healthcare Innovation Council submitted its commentary entitled “Let's Admit the Emperor Has No Clothes- It's Time to Redesign EHRs to Improve Patient Care” to U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander, Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, Mike Enzi, Pat Roberts and John Thune in response to an April 16, 2013 public invitation and report by such Senators that questioned the current EHR federal funding program and asked for public input.
Instead of improving patient care, the Council states that CMS’ EHR stimulus program is causing “a massive disruption of providers’ patient care focus as they chase ‘meaningful use’ dollars; increased burdens on physicians, nurses and clinicians since EHRs as currently designed require more, not less, of their time and effort; and an unprecedentedly huge expenditure by providers on EHR hardware and software at a time when providers are under severe financial pressures.” The Council states that there is a growing chorus of experts who are beginning to question whether CMS’ EHR program is misdirected and not likely to achieve its objectives within a reasonable period of time.
The Council’s commentary cites numerous examples about how the current breed of EHRs and the method they are being implemented are not improving patient care, as required by Congress when it approved $30+ billion of taxpayer monies for EHRs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Council recommends to the six U.S. Senators and the U.S. Congress that “it’s time to redo the ‘meaningful use’ EHR stimulus program to ensure that EHRs are designed and implemented in ways that help them improve patient care quality, safety and efficiency. It’s time to ‘reboot’ before all of the ‘meaningful use’ monies are spent and make that happen.” If that doesn’t happen, then the Council urges “Congress to halt CMS’ ‘meaningful use’ EHR program and spend the remainder of the ‘meaningful use’ funds on providing financial incentives for hospitals and other providers that demonstrate ‘meaningful improvements in patient care’ through whatever means they choose, and leave it to the healthcare providers, not our federal government, to choose the most effective means to improve patient care.” A copy of the Council’s commentary can be found at: www.antheliohealth.com/downloads/Council-EHR-commentary.pdf