In a report dated Dec. 9 the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified gaps in electronic health record (EHR) data validity, accuracy and integrity. In its analysis, the OIG conducted an online survey of hospitals that received Medicare EHR incentive payments. More in-depth interviews with hospital staff were also conducted, as well as surveys of EHR vendors. During the course of its study, the OIG found that nearly all hospitals with EHR technology had audit functions in place. However, the OIG also learned that not all hospitals appeared to be using these audit functions to their full extent.
As a result of their study, the OIG made three recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The OIG recommended that
- Audit logs be operational whenever EHR technology is available for updates or viewing;
- ONC and CMS strengthen their collaborate efforts to develop a comprehensive plan to address fraud vulnerabilities in EHR; and
- CMS develop guidance on the use of the copy-paste feature in EHR technology.
CMS and the ONC agreed with all recommendations made by the OIG. Plans to address the recommendations include targeted and random pre-payment audits.