Digital technologies have prevailed in healthcare after the approval of Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009. Although we have seen the adoption and significant use of technology at least in 96% of hospitals in the United States, electronic access to health information is hampered.
What is information blocking?
“Blocking Information” means any practice that materially interferes with, prevents, or discourages patients, providers, and others from accessing, exchanging, or using electronic health information (EHI), except when required by law or covered by an exception. These practices have affected the healthcare industry and have been detrimental to improving overall patient care. This stems from the physician’s reluctance to share patients ’health records outside of their practice, unfair and restrictive contractual limitations, and excessive fees charged by non-standard interfaces for accessing and exchanging health information records. These market forces created strong incentives to limit the availability of EHI, restricted patient mobility, weakened competition, and created barriers for developers to provide innovative applications and technologies that could use data to be more effective in improving the results at individual and population level.
What is changing?
From April 5th 2021, el Information blocking standard that implements certain provisions of the 21st Law of Cures of the Century will enter into force. This rule promises to eliminate data blocking practices and eliminate adverse incentives. Although the Health Information Responsibility and Portability Act (HIPAA) allows the sharing of personal health data, the information blocking rule will require the electronic exchange of health records and will prevent any practice that impedes the flow of data. or its use to improve care delivery. This is expected to transform the health consumer experience so that patients can have electronic access to their health information at no cost.
The strong focus of the information blocking rule on patients rather than on specific technologies has the potential to pave the way for patient-centered care ecosystems and foster innovation in healthcare. These transformations will provide convenience, foster competition, expand care options, enable cost transparency, improve care outcomes, and boost the economy of the digital health app that offers options to patients, physicians, payers. and hospitals.
How to prepare
While the information blocking rule offers more options to patients and providers, healthcare institutions need to prepare for the tsunami of data coming in and out of their systems. Organizations will require strong government, secure networks, improved compliance and improved security. As policy goals provide more clarity on e-access, it is clear that technology will play an important role in removing digital barriers in a secure way to create a connected world of attention.
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