CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today pledged to work with the Department of Health & Human Services to improve the flow of electronic health information to patients and physicians to increase data sharing that will achieve healthier people and smarter spending.

The lack of seamless data exchange continues to drag down physician efficiency and patient satisfaction when using these tools and improving electronic health records (EHRs) will require a concerted effort of public and private stakeholders. The AMA strongly supports the building blocks of EHR interoperability: 1) Improved Consumer Access 2) No Information Blocking 3) The Use of Nationally Recognized Interoperability Standards.

“Patients and physicians are in this effort together because patients need easy access to their electronic health information, confident that it is secure and can be shared to benefit their health, and physicians need these electronic records to be interoperable to ensure that patients are receiving the best care possible, said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Yet, physicians have trouble finding products that can help them achieve this. With so many vendors signing this pledge as well, we look forward to a marketplace where the promise of electronic health records is finally fulfilled.”

The majority of hospitals and physicians already use certified electronic health records, yet for many, the true utility of these products is still elusive. The AMA is encouraged by the number of health IT vendors that support this pledge, and we look forward to working with them to improve EHRs going forward.

“We commend HHS for bringing so many stakeholders together, all of whom have an interest in using technology to result in a healthier and more efficient health care system,” Stack said.

The AMA partnered with RAND on a prominent study that found cumbersome EHR systems are taking a toll on physicians who feel increasingly demoralized by technology that interferes with their ability to provide first-rate medical care to their patients. Also, to leverage the power of EHRs for enhancing patient care, improving productivity, and reducing administrative costs, the AMA has outlined a framework of eight priorities for improving EHR usability. The AMA has also issued a blueprint for the future of the Meaningful Use program with recommendations to improve EHR functionality.

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Jack Deutsch

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.