Stage 3 comments: AMA recommendations focus on flexibility

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 - Inquisitive EMR Patient Record HIE

As part of its comments on the Meaningful Use Stage 3 final rule, the American Medical Association (AMA) has released a set of recommendations that aim to "improve the troubled Meaningful Use program so it accommodates the real-world needs of physicians and patients while focusing on promoting the interoperability of [EHRs]."

The AMA recommendations the different landscape since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) originally issued regulations for MU Stage 3. In April, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization of 2015 (MACRA), which adopted a new physician payment framework based on quality and value. "Transitioning to this new system requires that physicians have usable and interoperable tools that involve patients and support care coordination," said AMA. "Stage 3 must allow physicians to maximize the use of EHRs in place today, while allowing vendors to continue to innovate and create new technologies."

“Doctors want to spend their time with patients, not measuring the number of clicks,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD. “We want a successful transition to digital health records, and we also want the new Medicare law to succeed. It will take thoughtful changes in the regulations to support physicians as they treat patients through new models of care.”

AMA's new framework is not a complete redesign but works within the current system to offer a "glide path" to meet the new law. Flexibility is essential to improving MU, ensuring that Stage 3 objectives can align with advanced payment models, according to the association. "New payment systems will not work if physicians fail for missing just one of numerous requirements or are held accountable for technological failures outside of their control."

The AMA-proposed approach would also engage patients in their healthcare decisions rather than simply judging physicians on how well they transmit data.