The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday proposed new rules to improve the interoperability of electronic health information.
The rules, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), are designed to increase choice and competition while promoting patient access to their health information. The recommended ONC rule would further ensure that patients can freely access electronic health information (EHI) online.
By requiring health insurers to share their information in an accessible, format by 2020, 125 million patients will have access to their health claims information electronically. This unprecedented step toward a healthcare future where patients are able to obtain and share their health data, securely and privately, with just a few clicks, is just the beginning of a digital data revolution that truly empowers American patients.
Additionally, in an effort to encourage hospitals and providers to allow patients easy access to their EHI, the CMS rule proposes to publicly report those who participate in “information blocking,” which are practices that unreasonably limit the availability, disclosure, and use of EHI.
Interoperability has long been a goal for the health IT industry and with the release of this rule, the HHS is supporting the “seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information.”