Meaningful and Streamlined Documentation

An Overview of the EHRA & HIMSS Physician Committee Summit 2022

By Hans Buitendijk (Oracle Cerner), Chair, EHR Association 

A key role of the electronic health record (EHR) is to enhance clinical decision-making and enable clinicians to plan and document patient care – information that is then communicated with other systems. But there are challenges that impede the EHR’s ability to fulfill that role to its fullest extent. These challenges and proposed solutions were the focus of the 2022 EHRA & HIMSS Physician Committee Summit: Meaningful and Streamlined Documentation.

Whereas the 2021 Summit focused on the state of clinical notes – including publication of best practices for drafting ideal notes – this year’s event focused on challenges inherent with EHRs and documentation. These challenges fall into the categories of clinical, quality reporting, operational, billing, regulatory, and registry requirements, as well as ease of documentation, ingesting and integrating data, and achieving meaningful decision support. In short, there is a wide range of often overlapping or conflicting requirements that EHRs need to address while enabling clinician users to enhance their clinical decision-making and plan and document patient care – but challenges stand in the way. 

Which brings us to the goals of the 2022 Summit, which is to focus on the creation, receipt, and sharing of meaningful notes while reducing documentation burden by understanding and identifying potential solutions for key challenges.

Not all challenges can be resolved in a single day, but our goal with this Summit was to make as much progress as possible toward clarifying ways to satisfy documentation needs, not just for the individual documenting but for the entire care team – whether they are part of the same health system or other provider organizations with which the patient has connections.

How do we do this in light of the latest EHR and regulatory developments? What can we do to improve on what is currently in place in a way that is easy, consistent, and effectively satisfies the wide variety of specialties served by EHRs? How do we integrate the data coming into our systems from other environments, blending it with internal information in a way that is appropriate and meaningful – and doesn’t contribute to duplicates or problems with reconciliation? 

These are the questions Summit attendees – including physicians, nurses, other clinicians and health IT developers – set out to answer by combining their experience and expertise to create best practices based on lessons learned. Not all challenges can be resolved in a single day, but our goal with this Summit was to make as much progress as possible toward clarifying ways to satisfy documentation needs, not just for the individual documenting but for the entire care team – whether they are part of the same health system or other provider organizations with which the patient has connections. 

The remaining blogs in this series will delve into what emerged from the Summit, including a recap of our keynote address by Rakhal Reddy, MD, MSHI, ACHIP, FACHE, a member of the HIMSS Physician Committee and System Medical Director, Health Informatics with Adventist Health, who discussed ideal and exchanged notes and creation of the latter. We’ll also hear from the moderators of each of our breakout sessions who will discuss what was shared regarding ideal note creation; ideal characteristics of notes received from other providers and non-EHR barriers; and EHR barriers and support to achieving ideal states.

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