Provider Impact: 21st Century Cures Act

Did you know that a proposed regulation may have significant financial and operational implications for health care providers?

In February 2019, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a proposed regulation – the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program – which includes new requirements related to electronic information sharing.

The rule could be finalized as early as December 2019 and would likely go into effect 60 days after finalization. Are you preparing to be compliant with these new requirements?

    1. Understand what “information blocking” is and its associated penalties
      As part of the 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2016, Congress defined “information blocking” broadly as a practice likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI).[1] The Act also gave HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) the authority to levy information blocking penalties of up to $1 million per instance for vendors and authorized “appropriate disincentives” for providers. Finally, the law tasked the HHS Secretary with defining exceptions to the broad information blocking prohibition.
    2. Assess operations and identify enhancements needed to be compliant
      Healthcare providers need to consider the effects of the regulation on their operations, such as policies for charging individuals or third parties for medical record access, governance of electronic health information to support requirements for data exchange via application program interfaces (API), and availability of reporting mechanisms to support any potential investigations.
    3. Educate your staff and patients
      In addition to educating staff on any changes in how health record requests are logged, processed and fulfilled, healthcare providers should invest in education to prepare patients to make informed decisions about their health data rights.

The proposed regulation is just one example of a fundamental shift in how health care providers will need to approach health information management (HIM). Going forward, HIM departments will be expected to be the primary facilitators of health data exchange.

[1]   Section 4004 of the Cures Act;

Are you ready for interoperability?

Complete the form to download the whitepaper Guide to the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program

Have more questions about interoperability? Let us know.