Provider groups call for more flexibility for EHR adoption

While financial incentives linked to "reasonable, achievable measures" will encourage the use of electronic health records (EHRs) by physicians, "aggressive, burdensome requirements" will not, 39 physician and medical specialty groups stated in a letter to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

In response to the open comment period for Stages 2 and 3 of the EHR Meaningful Use incentive program, the provider groups (including the American Medical Association) said that greater flexibility is needed to meet Meaningful Use EHR requirements and to promote the wider use of health IT.

Before moving from the Stage 1 menu set to the core set for Stage 2--and prior to adding new measures--the expected impact, the expected value, risks (both clinical and administrative), evidence of efficacy, administrative burden, costs to physicians, and technological standards need to "be thoroughly assessed and publicly vetted," the physicians said.

The groups noted that a major criticism of Stage 1 from physicians--especially specialists--was the fact that many of the measures were primary care-focused and lacked an exclusion category for physicians who determined that these measures weren't relevant to their practices.

Physicians would be reluctant to take part in Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs if they had to record data in their EHRs that usually were not collected or were not relevant to their practices, they said. Instead, they "strongly" recommended instead that many of the Stage 2 measures include exclusion options to permit them to opt out.

They also called for removal of measures--such as patients accessing patient portals or labs reporting test results--that required adherence from parties other than physicians.

For more details:
- here's the letter (.pdf)

Related Content:
CHIME Responds to Proposed Stage 2 Objectives, Seeks Assessment of Stage 1 Progress First
Criticisms of final 'meaningful use' rule start to emerge