Under the new law known as the 21st Century Cures Act, information blocking is now ILLEGAL. That means if you get a request from another provider for patient information, you are required to provide that information. The Office of Inspector General at OIG can investigate all claims of information blocking by providers and can levy fines and / or enforce Corrective Action Plans (CAP).
This rule applies to all Health Information including but not limited to:
· EHR information in certified software
· EHR information in non-certified software
· Digital Images
· Paper Charts
· Plain Films
· Any and all other patient health information
So no matter how you keep your records, if you block the transfer of information you are in violation of this rule.
Developers of Certified EHR technology can not place roadblocks or impediments to transferring information out of the EHR. If a developer of certified software does not have tools to enable the transfer of patient information, they are considered an information blocker and can be subject to an investigation.
What does this mean?
For Hospitals, in the past hospital systems have ‘closed’ their systems to people and hospitals outside their network and made it difficult for doctors who were not using the ‘preferred’ software platform or who were not on staff to obtain patient information. THIS IS information blocking. This has been a common practice in the past and will now be illegal. If you were using a system that was not the hospitals ‘preferred’ system and they said they would not connect with you, they will not be required to provide you with a connection.
For Certified EHR developers, they will need to open their systems so that patient data can be extracted. This means if you want to transfer your data from one system to another it will be much easier for you and you will no longer be locked into a system due to losing access to your data.
For Patients, their data will not be readily available to any provider who is part of the care team allowing us to have all the information we need at our fingertips to make the best possible medical decision for patients.
For providers, we are no longer ‘locked’ into an EHR. We can more easily switch between systems and move our patient data from one system to another. We will have easier access to data in hospital and laboratory systems and other EHR systems. This will make our lives easier, our ability to treat patients better, and the costs associated with our EHR systems more affordable, especially when switching systems.
This change is a major step forward for providers and patients, we should expect to start to see changes as a result of this new law in the next 12 months.
Dr. Michael Brody
DPM, CEO TLD Systems