Policy Panel Discusses Stage 2 Requirements on Entering Data in EHRs

During a Health IT Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday, health IT stakeholders discussed whether licensed professionals and scribes should be allowed to enter data into electronic health record systems on behalf of physicians under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Healthcare IT News reports.

Background

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

The proposed rules for Stage 2 currently require a physician to use his or her own personal log-on to open an EHR. In addition, the rules hold a physician responsible for an EHR and for approving any information entered by another individual on behalf of the physician.

Details of the Discussion

Paul Tang -- vice chair of the Policy Committee and chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation -- said most EHR systems only display clinical decision support information once, when the physician's order is typed into the system. Therefore, if nurses or clerical workers type a physician's orders into an EHR, the physician might not see the clinical decision support information when he or she approves a series of orders at the end of the day.

However, some committee members said that physicians should not be required to spend their time typing orders.

Most committee members agreed that physicians ultimately are responsible for the data recorded in an EHR system. However, the meeting ended in a split vote over whether the Stage 2 proposed rules should be revised to require EHR systems to show clinical decision support information to every individual who accesses the EHR, including physicians who are approving the orders entered by another worker.

CMS is accepting public comment on the Stage 2 proposed rules through May 7 (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 5/3).


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