The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supports efforts for new legislation responding to the depths of doctors’ dissatisfaction with the federal government’s Meaningful Use program. The bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers from North Carolina would address many problems in the Meaningful Use Program by introducing needed flexibility and enhancing electronic health records (EHR) to improve patient care and access to health information.
The Meaningful Use program has spurred 80 percent of physicians to implement EHRs in their practices, but the AMA has long held that the program’s ambitious timetable and prescriptive approach has produced undesired consequences that have directly hindered the ability of EHR technology to perform as an effective clinical tool for patients and physicians. Of great concern is the fact that the
Meaningful Use program continues to move ahead without first fixing barriers faced by physicians, hospitals, vendors and patients. The federal regulations should be revised to provide greater flexibility for physicians to meet the Meaningful Use requirements and ensure that Stage 3 of the program is developed in step with other efforts to modernize our nation’s health care system.
The bill also addresses key interoperability challenges by ensuring EHR systems are capable of sending, receiving, and seamlessly incorporating patient data. According to studies conducted by AMA and RAND, most EHR systems fail to support efficient and effective clinical work and are the leading cause of physician dissatisfaction, emotional fatigue, depersonalization and lost enthusiasm.