Federal agency offers standards for improving EMRs

This week the feds spoke out on the subject of improving health IT networking, with an eye toward improving EMR and billing practices out in the field. A report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) include recommendations on how to improve data audits, strengthen patient identification procedures, verify providers and tighten up the reimbursement process.

While the ONC is endorsing the recommendations, they actually were developed by RTI International with support from AHIMA and software companies SAS and SPSS. About two-thirds of the requirements are linked closely to current or planned CCHIT and Health Level 7 criteria, with another third breaching new ground.  The authors noted, along the way, that they're particularly concerned about weighing down physicians with heavy-handed fraud-prevention measures. Instead, they're hoping to promote approaches that reduce errors and promote good documentation practices, which will actually guard against unmerited fraud accusations.

To learn more about ONC's proposals:
- read this Healthcare IT News piece
- read the RTI report (.pdf)