ASCO recently joined more than 100 medical specialty groups and state medical societies in signing an American Medical Association-led letter urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC) to delay requiring 2015 Edition Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) until such technology is widely available—and no sooner than January 2019.
CMS currently permits the use of either the 2014 Edition or 2015 Edition CEHRT for compliance with the Quality Payment Program (QPP) and the Meaningful Use (MU) program in 2017; however, starting in 2018, both programs will require the use of 2015 Edition technology. The letter expresses concern that the necessary technology will not be readily available to physicians across a wide variety of specialties, and stresses that the use of 2015 Edition CEHRT should remain voluntary in 2018.
Hastily deploying CEHRT is counterproductive and threatens patient safety by potentially rushing technology upgrades and installations, resulting in a lack of user training and an overall disruption to practice operations. Furthermore, rushing to implement 2015 Edition CEHRT by 2018 could jeopardize provider success in QPP and the MU program—making it harder for practices to stay open and serve patients.
Congress outlined a number of EHR certification updates in the 21st Century Cures Act that address long-standing concerns about EHRs such as data blocking, usability, interoperability, security, and testing CEHRT in real-world settings. The signatories view these updates as necessary protections that will shed new light on how EHRs perform in practices, and the letter expresses concern that these protections will not be in place for 2015 Edition CEHRT products, unless mandatory implementation is delayed.