Understanding and Preparing for the Info Blocking Rule

October 31, 2019
Samara Rosenfeld

Change is imminent in healthcare. Here is how health systems can stay on top of the new interoperability rule.

It’s only a matter of time until the new interoperability rules go into effect, and health systems need to understand what is required of them when it comes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ information blocking rule.

Drew Ivan, executive vice president of product and strategy at Rhapsody Health, told Inside Digital Health™ at HLTH2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada that the information blocking rule will explain exactly which data need to be exchanged and when and what it means when someone deliberately blocks information. So to prepare, health systems will need to make sure their technology is in order.

Editor’s note: The following transcription has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Drew Ivan: The information blocking rule is some repair work that Congress is doing through the 21st Century Cures Act which was passed a couple of years ago. But really what happened was when Congress funded the Meaningful Use program, they really put in place the funding for providers to move from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs). They expected that to come along with easier flowing information and that interoperability would be a side effect of that funding. But they found that it wasn't. There were minimal requirements for interoperability as part of the funding and it meant that most of the providers didn't fully implement it. And so they came out with the 21st Century Cures Act to go back and put some requirements around the interoperability part of it and it has taken a little bit of time to come to fruition, but it's going to result in these rules from CMS that explain exactly which data have to be exchanged and when and what it means to deliberately block information.

Health systems can prepare for the information blocking rules by getting their technology in order. A lot of health systems will be counting on their EHR vendor to automatically provide the interoperability, but that might not go far enough. So really, what they need to do is put the technology in place and train up their IT department to be familiar with the standards and the practices and everything it’s going to take to put together a strategy around making it very easy to get information out of the silos that they're keeping it in.

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