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21st Century Cures Act and information blocking

27 Sep 2020

Learn the final rules in link to Federal Register

By: G. Andrew Clarke, MD, CMIO

The federal government recently finalized new regulatory rules that will improve our patients’ ability to personally engage in their care. This rule applies widely to include individual provider clinics, group practices, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

Patients will soon be able to directly and readily access their electronic health information (EHI). EHI includes items such as clinical notes, results (lab, imaging, pathology), medications, allergies, and problem lists. Salem Health’s sharing strategy leverages MyChart for patient access to EHI. Patients also will now be able to use third party apps to access their EHI.

A key term and prohibition to be aware of from the Cures Act is “information blocking.” This is defined as “a practice that is likely to interfere with access, exchange, or use of electronic health information.”  

Engaging in a practice that can be interpreted as information blocking is subject to significant fines (up to $1 million in some cases). 

Community provider practices (both Epic and non-Epic systems) are also viewed by the government as “providers” and will need to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act.

We will continue to provide updates through Common Ground. In the meantime, want to learn more about the 21st Century Cures Act? Here is the final rule published in the Federal Register

But much more readable information is available on the Epic UserWeb: 21st Century Cures - Helpful Epic Resources.