Sloppy EHR Data Signals Need for Standards
Some day-to-day miscues are troubling. But large and significant alleged abuses related to EHRs are even more so. Dougherty referred to a report by Center for Public Integrity that found "thousands of doctors and other medical professionals have steadily billed higher rates" for treating older patients on Medicare in the past decade.
Those medical billing abuses were linked to improper use of EHR, Dougherty says. At least $11 billion or more were added to physicians' fees, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
"The Obama administration is forging ahead with a multi-billion dollar plan to shift from paper to electronic medical records, despite continuing concerns the program may be prompting some doctors and hospitals to improperly bill higher fees to Medicare," the center concluded.
The HIT committee's hearings are part of the government's effort to evaluate EHR issues, Dougherty says.
Dougherty told the Committee in a statement that there is inadequate attention being paid to the integrity of clinical documentation in EHR that could compromise the usefulness of records for patient care and quality reporting as well as business, compliance and legal issues.
"EHRs offer so much potential, but standards of practice haven't been adopted across all systems," Dougherty said in her statement. "Sometimes when a full medical record is needed, EHRs produce information that is redundant, difficult to read and not comprehensive."
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