The American Medical Association (AMA) wrote a letter to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., asking for an overhaul of the meaningful use program and electronic health record (EHR) certification process.
The letter, sent last month, is in response to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's (ONC) proposed rule on the certification criteria for EHR systems in 2015. According to the AMA, the ONC needs to loosen 'rigid and overly complex' meaningful use mandates to focus less on data collection and more on data synthesis.
"Rigid requirements, such as only allowing physicians and medical assistants to enter data into EHRs, seriously disrupt workflow. More flexibility, including allowing physicians to individually determine who can enter EHR data, such as medical scribes, would address these challenges," the AMA writes in a release, recapping the letter.
The AMA also asked DeSalvo and the ONC to improve data liquidity, align the quality reporting program before expanding meaningful use, and thoroughly test technology with impartial physicians in practice-based scenarios. "The AMA believes that poor usability is partially an outcropping of this process, since products are developed, tested and certified in computer labs that don’t reflect true use environments," the organization wrote in the letter.
David Raths, for Healthcare Informatics, reported only four hospitals have achieved Stage 2 of meaningful use, seven months into the reporting period. In the eyes of the AMA, improving usability and flexibility, and developing EHRs with physician input, would improve on these numbers.
Raths also reported that in the meeting that only 10 percent of providers surveyed by the ONC reported the capability to let patients view, download and transmit their data, with transmit being the least common. This is a Stage 2 requirement. The AMA says that 20 percent of physicians and other professionals have dropped out of the meaningful use program.