GAO Report Shows that HHS Needs Plan to Increase EHR in Post-Acute Care

Posted on Thursday, March 9, 2017 2:52 PM

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to show that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must put a comprehensive plan in place to increase EHR use in nursing homes, home health care and other post-acute care providers.

Most patients that leave hospital settings move on to receive care in post-acute settings. Therefore, the importance of accurate and timely health information is extremely crucial during these times of transitions – that is why EHRs could help to improve quality and reduce costs.

The report determined that Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information technology (ONC) lacks understanding of how providers are going to use this technology, which makes it hard to measure the impact HHS policies might have.

“Without a comprehensive plan to address these issues, HHS risks not achieving its goal of increasing EHR use and the electronic exchange of health information in post-acute care settings,” the GAO wrote.

The GAO reviewed the following issues related to the use of EHRs in post-acute care settings:
• Factors that affect EHR use and electronic exchange of health information
• The efforts of HHS to encourage EHR use and electronic information exchange
The GAO surveyed 20 stakeholders in post-acute care and found the following results:
• Costs, lack of data-sharing and increased staff conclude why the EHR hasn’t been adopted
• Nursing homes, home health agencies, rehab hospitals and long-term care hospitals were all excluded from the HITECH Act

The “reboot senators” including HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander, John Thune, Richard Burr, Mike Enzi and Pat Roberts requested this survey.

For the full article, click here.

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