Health IT Roundup—Docs still frustrated with EHRs despite benefits; FCC’s Pai adds $171M to rural telehealth funding

Doctor computer
Doctors are still burned out by EHRs; Trump has signed the VA telehealth rule into law. (Getty/andrei_r)

7 in 10 doctors frustrated with EHRs

Although the majority of primary care physicians recognize the positive impact EHRs have had on patient care, most are still frustrated with their system.

Seven in 10 doctors said they are frustrated with the way EHRs have impacted their relationship with patients, according to a new poll by Stanford Medicine. The same percentage believe EHR demands are a significant contributor to burnout. Nearly 60% said EHRs need a complete overhaul.

Still, nearly two-thirds of physicians said they are somewhat satisfied with their current system and say it has generally led to better patient care.

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Concerning potential fixes, 72% of respondents said user interfaces are the immediate short-term challenge. (Survey)

FCC proposes $171M funding boost for rural telehealth

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has issued a draft order to increase the annual funding for the Rural Health Care Program from $400 million each year to $571 million.

The order would raise a funding cap established in 1999 for a program used to help rural providers implement telemedicine services. Pai said the annual cap would be adjusted annually for inflation, and any unused funds could be carried forward in future years.

“Demand for funding has been outpacing the program’s funding cap, so I also believe that the increased cap should apply to the current funding year so that rural health care providers can be fully reimbursed,” Pai said in a statement. “This is an important step to allow these providers to continue offering critical telemedicine services in their rural communities.”

RELATED: CHIME wants the FCC to double rural broadband funding to advance telehealth, prevent opioid overdoses

The $171 million increase falls well short of College of Health Information Management Executives’ request, which asked the FCC to increase the cap to $800 million a year. The remaining FCC commissioners still have to approve the proposal before it can be finalized. (Release)

Trump signs VA Mission Act, codifying telehealth licensing change

Weeks after the Department of Veterans Affairs finalized a rule that allows VA providers to practice telehealth across state lines, President Donald Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which codifies the licensing change into law.

RELATED: VA finalizes interstate licensing rule that will ‘open the aperture’ for telehealth

Although the final rule is already in place to override state licensing restrictions, Neil Evans, M.D., the chief officer for the Office of Connected Care at the VA, previously told FierceHealthcare passing the legislation was preferable since “there’s some permeance to it.” (White House Announcement)

Amazon working on cancer research, medical records data

A secret team of carefully selected engineers and healthcare informatics experts at Amazon is working to solve some of the biggest medical problems, focusing on cancer research and last-mile delivery, CNBC reported.

Amazon’s team is spearheaded by the creator of Google Glass and several former Google engineers, along with bioengineers and a former health informatics officer at Trinity Health. Among the projects Amazon is working on: pulling unstructured data from EHRs to identify a misdiagnosis. (CNBC)

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