Carter L. Alleman, J.D.

Proposed Interoperability Rules and You

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its “Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule,” which proposes changes to the healthcare system to support the goals of the MyHealthEData initiative, and would increase the flow of health information, reduce burden on patients and providers, and foster innovation by unleashing data for researchers and innovators, according to a CMS press release.

Additionally, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT put forth its own proposed rule that implements provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act that aims to deter and penalize information blocking by outlining seven proposed exceptions to its definition under the law. It is designed to increase innovation and competition by giving patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information and to new tools, allowing for more choice in care and treatment. It calls on the healthcare industry to adopt standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), which would allow individuals to securely and easily access structured electronic health information using applications for smartphones and other mobile devices, an ONC press release states.

The  impact of these proposed regulations will be that patients will have results of tests and clinical notes in real time. Within the proposal, there are calls for no more delays from the time a test is completed to when the information appears in the patient portal. This would result in the patient knowing results before a clinician had the ability to read the results and interpret them. Imagine the increase in communication as clinicians will be asked to answer questions about test results before having a chance to see them themselves, or the use of “googled” information that a patient may use to interpret on their own.

The ACOS is working with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine on comments to CMS asking for better clarification on the rulemaking, increased payment for more interactions resulting from this proposal, and the liability factor regarding third party vendors consolidating information. The ACOS is also developing additional resources to discuss with patients on how to manage these rules with notification of results. If you would like to be a part of these efforts, please reach out to Carter Alleman, at [email protected].