The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) final rule on interoperability, information blocking, and patient access to data implements certain provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act to support patients’ access to their electronic health information (EHI) in a form easy and convenient for patients.
“Information blocking is a practice by an “actor” that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI), except as required by law or specified in an information blocking exception. The Cures Act applied the law to healthcare providers, health IT developers of certified health IT, and health information exchanges (HIEs)/health information networks (HINs).”
Starting October 6,2022, the definition of electronic health information in the 21st Century Cures Act “will expand beyond the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) Version 1 to all electronic protected health information that a patient has the right to access under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).”
But here’s the challenge: Many organizations are still confused, overwhelmed, or simply underinformed about information blocking requirements and need more clarity and information on how best to implement federal information blocking regulations set to go into effect October 6.
These regulations will put new pressure on hospitals and healthcare organizations to provide patient-requested medical records in a timely manner, or face penalties that can be costly.
In an August 18 letter addressed to The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, twenty-eight health IT professional associations, provider organizations and other stakeholders stated that compliance will be problematic if the agency doesn’t take further action to address “significant knowledge gaps … with respect to implementation and enforcement” that are commonplace among providers.”
The Mayo Clinic, Ascension, and AdventHealth have joined organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Epic, and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in expressing their concerns.
This group of organizations also asked HHS for an enforcement grace period of at least six months to adapt technology and compliance programs to meet the new regulations.
The best way to respond to changes is to embrace them.
Having data that is accessible is crucial for providing high-quality, effective healthcare and can lead patients and healthcare teams to make better decisions about clinical care.
If your organization needs help with the new regulations, Primeau Consulting Group can provide solutions.