CMS on Tuesday created the Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics as the agency aims to reduce providers' administrative workloads.
The new office will bolster the dialogue between regulators and healthcare workers as staff looks to weed out or modify outdated regulations, CMS said. It will also focus on interoperability and providing patients and clinicians with an individual's complete medical history, the agency said.
"The Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics will ensure the agency's commitment to reduce administrative costs and enact meaningful and lasting change in our nation's healthcare system," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in prepared remarks. "Specifically, the work of this new office will be targeted to help reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies, continue administrative simplification, increase the use of health informatics, and improve the beneficiary experience."
The office is part of the Trump administration's 2017 Patients over Paperwork initiative, which is expected to save providers and clinicians $6.6 billion and 42 million hours through 2021, CMS said. The agency did not respond to an inquiry about how much the office will cost and its staffing levels.
Stress levels were high prior to the pandemic, partly due to all the time caregivers spend on documentation. There's around $265 billion wasted on unnecessary administrative complexity a year, researchers estimate.
While regulators have temporarily paused some documentation requirements during the pandemic, COVID-19 has added other layers of complexity.
More than 80% of primary-care clinicians' stress levels are at an all-time high and only 1 in 5 feels they have the resources or support needed to cope with COVID-19-related burnout, according to a recent survey from the Larry A. Green Center, the Primary Care Collaborative and 3rd Conversation.
"Without immediate public and private payer action to stabilize primary care in the short-term and to strengthen it in the long-term, primary care will not readily survive the next wave of the pandemic," Ann Greiner, president and CEO of the Primary Care Collaborative, said in prepared remarks.