Information Blocking Provisions of 21st Century Cures Act Take Effect April 5
Final rules from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) supporting the seamless and secure access, exchange and use of electronic health information take effect April 5. Implementation of the rules, which were issued in March 2020, were delayed this past fall due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Under the final rule, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) continues the process of implementing requirements for health information technology (IT) developers through the agency's Health IT Certification Program to define reasonable and necessary activities that do not constitute information blocking in health IT systems and establish the voluntary certification of health IT for use by pediatric health care providers. Additionally, ONC adopted the HL7® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) standard release 4 as a foundational standard for electronic health information exchange for certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT).
After receiving comments on the proposed rule from the ACC and other stakeholders, ONC modified the implementation timeline to allow more time for vendors, providers, and other affected actors to prepare and implement the new requirements. Additionally, ONC made changes to help clarify information blocking requirements, including providing details on who would be required to share electronic health information at an individual’s request and how this should be completed.
The CMS rule includes several policy changes, as part of its MyHealthEData initiative, seeking to make patient data more useful and transferable through open, secure, standardized and machine-readable formats while reducing restrictive burdens on health care providers. The rule also requires hospitals to send electronic patient event notifications of a patient’s admission, discharge, and/or transfer to another healthcare facility or provider.
The ACC is supporting implementation awareness through the collaborative Information Blocking Resource Center. In addition, ACC members are encouraged to review additional resources and fact sheets from the American Medical Association, ONC and CMS:
- AMA: How Do I Comply and Where Do I Start?
- What ONC's Cures Act Final Rule Means for Clinicians and Hospitals
- ONC Information Blocking FAQs
- CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule Fact Sheet
- ONC 21st Century Cures Act Interoperability Final Rule Overview
- ONC 21st Century Cures Act Interoperability Proposed versus Final Rule Fact Sheet
Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub
Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Coronavirus, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S., Electronic Health Records, Public Health, COVID-19, Medicare, Medical Informatics
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