In March 2020, the ONC released the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule, which goes into effect April 2022, designed to give patients secure access to their health data and enhance interoperability. Specifically, the Cures Act prevents information blocking. Patients experience information blocking with difficulty trying to access their medical records or when sending their records to another provider. Providers experience information blocking with difficulty accessing patient records from another provider, linking their EHR with health information exchanges (HIEs) or data registries and migrating one EHR to another. Often information blocking is the result of proprietary health IT systems restricting use of information stored or health IT developers charging excessive fees to create interfaces with other systems.
Having access to their complete medical record allows patients to take their health information with them as they move from provider to provider and insurance plan to insurance plan throughout the healthcare system. Patients can then be more informed decision makers, leading to better informed treatment. This also helps providers eliminate unnecessary or duplicate testing and have better information, fostering improved patient outcomes at a lower cost.
As a result of the Cures Act, not only is a patient able to access their health record, but it must be delivered in a user-friendly way. This is made possible by application programming interface (API) requirements, which are the foundation of smartphone applications. To ensure that data is accessible across different applications and usable by patients and providers, a standardized set of health data classes and elements was established. Examples include consultation notes, discharge summary notes, history & physical, imaging, laboratory reports, pathology reports, procedure notes and progress notes. Medical claims data will also need to be made available from insurance companies.
By requiring healthcare providers, health IT developers and health information networks (HINs)/HIEs to standardize delivery of healthcare information, a huge opportunity exists to innovate with digital tools and apps to serve patients. At Tell Health, we are leveraging the Cures Act to make healthcare communications easier and more human. It is our goal to provide easy access to your complete medical record while also allowing secure sharing with family members, caregivers and providers. We are putting a patient’s information back in their control, where it rightly belongs.