Docs to ONC: Ease administrative burden of health IT

The American Academy of Family Physicians is urging the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to ease the burden on physicians trying to comply with federal health IT goals.

Although the organization supports the goals outlined in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, "the myriad of regulations and rules from multiple agencies places a heavy administrative burden. As efforts across agencies can be harmonized and where possible combined, it could significantly decrease this burden on practices," board chairman Reid B. Blackwelder, M.D., says in a letter to National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo.

The letter is a response to the ONC's request for comments about the draft strategic plan, according to an announcement.

While he calls the plan's goals for collecting and sharing patient information "appropriate," he says these goals are "indistinguishable" from the goals of the past decade.

He raises concern that the strategic plan fails to acknowledge the successes that have been made, including increased adoption of electronic medical records and information-sharing through Direct, and in particular questions "the apparent absence of any short-term (1-3 year) goals to continue the momentum of these successes."  

"[G]iven the breadth and depth of the work that could be initiated around health IT, we are concerned that resources may be spread so thin that no significant achievements are made toward the goals laid out in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan," Blackwelder writes.

The ONC released the updated plan in December, which spans from 2015 to 2020 and focuses on the collection, use and sharing of interoperable health information. The ONC is taking public comment through Feb. 6 on the plan. DeSalvo has touted the importance of feedback on the path to interoperability.

Relief from the multiple government mandates was among the three "Congressional Asks"--formal requests that HIMSS made to Congress in September to advance health IT.

To learn more:
- read the letter (.pdf)
- check out the announcement

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