TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed a draft strategy to reduce the health information technology (IT) burden, and the strategy is open for public comment through Jan. 28, 2019.

The authors of the strategy address the hurdles associated with electronic health records (EHRs), which have introduced new challenges for clinicians and failed to address existing issues. Health care providers, practice managers, and hospitals have reported challenges with EHR system designs; in addition, regulatory and administrative burdens associated with EHR use have been experienced during care delivery, required reporting activities, and documentation of claims for payment. These challenges affect productivity, can increase the costs of organization, and take away from patient focus.

To address these challenges, informed by extensive stakeholder outreach and engagement, the authors have set three primary goals for reducing burden: (1) reducing the time and effort required to record information in EHRs during care delivery; (2) reducing the time and effort needed to meet regulatory reporting requirements; and (3) improving the functionality and intuitiveness of EHRs.

“Information technology has automated processes in every industry except health care, where the introduction of EHRs resulted in additional burden on clinicians,” Don Rucker, M.D., the national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement. “Health IT tools need to be intuitive and functional so that clinicians can focus on their patients and not documentation.”

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