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Organize for EHR Change

Series One: Electronic Health Records

EHR systems are works in progress. Legislators need the wisdom and creativity of physicians to change them into ideal tools for supporting patient care. Organizing for EHR change can be both strategic and therapeutic. Physicians can also reduce burnout by building community around the EHR issue. There are various ways to advocate for increased clinical relevance and usability in EHR systems, which, in turn, can reduce physician burnout.

Professional Society Legislative Initiatives

Physicians can join the advocacy efforts of professional societies that are working with regulators and technology vendors. Their goal is to align policy and technology in ways that reduce EHR administrative burden and reorient clinical documentation towards healthcare facilitation and communication instead of billing. For example:

American College of Physicians’ Patients Before Paperwork Initiative
The ACP's Patients Before Paperwork initiative works to identify and prioritize the most burdensome administrative tasks faced by ACP members and their patients; develop significant policy recommendations for how to address these administrative tasks; and engage in ongoing outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts with external sources of administrative and regulatory burden.

American College of Cardiology Informatics and Health Information Technology Taskforce
The ACC Informatics and Health IT Task Force is responsible for facilitating, promoting, and accelerating the transformation of quality cardiovascular care through the use of health IT.

AMA Physicians Grassroots Network: Reducing the Burdens of Electronic Health Records
The Physicians Grassroots Network connects physicians from across the country and empowers them to advocate for smarter solutions to our nation’s healthcare challenges.

CMS and ONC EHR Burden Reporting

Clinicians can contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), both of which are seeking clinician input to fulfill their directive to lessen the burdens caused by Medicare documentation requirements. Officials are urging healthcare stakeholders to provide input by emailing comments to ReducingProviderBurden@cms.hhs.gov. There is also an ONC Health IT Feedback form.

Advocacy for EHR Change at Work

Even reporting usability issues and advocating for change to administrators and IT departments can relieve a sense of helplessness clinicians may feel about meeting EHR documentation obligations. Clinicians can also participate in usability testing and error reporting to ensure clinician usability requirements remain front and center in EHR development.