OIG: HHS still not addressing copy-paste concerns

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) still has not adequately addressed the issue of hospitals failing to employ safeguards and prevent EHR fraud and abuse via recommended tools already in place, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). 

The OIG warned HHS about this shortcoming back in December 2013. The issue is listed in its annual compendium as one of  its top 25 unimplemented recommendations.

In its original report, OIG noted that HHS contracted with RTI International to develop recommendations to enhance data protection. Nearly all hospitals with EHRs had RTI-recommended audit functions in place, but that those functions were not being used to their full extent.

OIG's 2013 report also notes that too little was being done to limit the use of EHR copy-paste functions—24 percent of hospitals had policies regarding the use of such functions. "Although the copy-paste feature in EHRs can enhance efficiency of data entry, it may also facilitate attempts to inflate, duplicate or create fraudulent healthcare claims," the report reads.

Read the OIG's annual compendium.