This is a time of great health policy discussion and activity, especially given the challenge of COVID-19 and the finalization of significant federal regulations that will now move into the implementation stage. HL7 and its standards, such as Fast Healthcare Interoperabilty Resources (FHIR®), are a strong fiber in these developments. Discussed here are key aspects of the final interoperability, patient access and information blocking rules recently released related to implementing provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-155). The intersection of policy, HL7 standards and COVID-19 will be highlighted in this space soon. Stay tuned!
CMS released the much-awaited Interoperability & Patient Access Rule in early March this year. This rule establishes policies that aim to break down barriers in the health system across the US for better patient engagement.
CMS had proposed the Interoperability & Patient Access Rule to support regulations of the MyHealthEData initiative and 21st Century Cures Act with an implementation timeline. This resulted in numerous requests from the healthcare industry, especially from the payer community, which demanded for the rule to be implemented in a phased manner. This was well received by CMS and timelines have been set accordingly given that technological advancements and security of data exchange need to be taken into consideration.
The rule promises to enable better patient access to their health information, improve interoperability and drive innovation, while reducing burden on payers and providers. Patients can now be aware of their health information for better care and improved patient outcomes. With data being available conveniently and securely among payers, providers and patients, CMS hopes to achieve real coordinated care, improved health outcomes and reduced costs.