AMA Supports Legislative Effort to Revise the Meaningful Use Program

CHICAGO - July 30, 2015 - The American Medical Association (AMA) today declared its strong support for new legislation responding to the depths of doctors’ dissatisfaction with the federal government’s Meaningful Use program. The bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers from North Carolina would address many problems in the Meaningful Use Program by introducing needed flexibility and enhancing electronic health records (EHR) to improve patient care and access to health information.

The Meaningful Use program has spurred 80 percent of physicians to implement EHRs in their practices, but the AMA has long held that the program’s ambitious timetable and prescriptive  approach has produced undesired consequences that have directly hindered the ability of EHR technology to perform as an effective clinical tool for patients and physicians.

"The AMA thanks Rep. Ellmers for sharing our deep concern with a Meaningful Use program that continues to move ahead without first fixing barriers faced by physicians, hospitals, vendors and patients," said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. "Under Rep. Ellmers’ leadership, federal regulations would be revised to provide greater flexibility for physicians to meet the Meaningful Use requirements and ensure that Stage 3 of the program is developed in step with other efforts to modernize our nation’s health care system."

The bill also addresses key interoperability challenges by ensuring EHR systems are capable of sending, receiving, and seamlessly incorporating patient data.

“This important bill addresses many of the fundamental shortcomings in government regulations that have made many EHR systems very difficult to use,” said Dr. Stack.  “We heard loud and clear from physicians at the AMA’s first-ever town hall meeting on EHRs and the Meaningful Use program that the systems they use are cumbersome, poorly designed and unable to ‘talk’ to each other thereby preventing necessary transmission of patient medical information.”

The town hall meeting held on July 20 in Atlanta with the Medical Association of Georgia echoed physician frustration from a prominent study conducted by AMA and RAND that found most EHR systems fail to support efficient and effective clinical work and are the leading cause of physician dissatisfaction, emotional fatigue, depersonalization and lost enthusiasm.

The AMA wants to make sure physician voices are widely heard on this critical issue. Visit BreaktheRedTape.org to watch a recording of the town hall meeting, learn more about EHRs and Meaningful Use, contact members of Congress, or share thoughts about problems and solutions.

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Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970
robert.mills@ama-assn.org

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation’s physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

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About Us

About the American Medical Association (AMA) Since 1847 the American Medical Association has had one mission: to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Today, the core strategy used to carry out this mission is our concerted effort to help doctors help patients. We do this by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. In 2011 our strategic plan focuses on five areas that encompass the central elements in health system reform: Access to care Quality of care Cost of health care Prevention and wellness Payment models Vist the AMA's 2011 strategic plan at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/strategic-issues.page These topics represent the major areas of emphasis in which the AMA carries out its mission in the current environment. Our proposed actions are not only directed at solving reform issues at the policy level, but also at helping physicians adapt to—and adopt—changes in a productive way. To learn more about how the AMA is moving medicine forward, read our flyer at: http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/about-ama/moving-medicine-forward.pdf.

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