Toward a National Health Information Infrastructure: A Key Strategy for Improving Quality in Long-Term Care. D. MDS Completion


Presently, nursing facilities do not typically use electronic medical records or robust electronic health information systems. To complete the MDS, NF staff abstract data from medical records, talk with staff, and observe nursing home residents to gather information required for the MDS. NF staff typically record this information on a paper record and at a later time electronically encode and transmit this information to State and Federal Governments. Abt Associates found that "MDS coordinators who complete each MDS independently were often not at all involved in resident care, and did not work as part of an interdisciplinary team with caregivers to fill out the MDS" and that nursing home providers describe the MDS as "an excessive paperwork burden.... and a time-consuming task that is difficult to manage in the face of inadequate staffing levels and high turn-over rates."27

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