Federal Data Rules Moving Forward with Big Implications

Fierce Health reports that two major federal rules aimed at stopping information blocking and spurring data sharing are now one step closer to being finalized. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) interoperability and information blocking rule is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the last step before publication. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed interoperability rule also is under review at OMB. That rule would require insurers participating in CMS-run programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges by Jan. 1 to have the capability to give 125 million patients electronic access to their personal health information at no cost to patients. The new rules are a centerpiece of the 21st Century Cures Act and are designed to drive increased efficiency and transparency in health care and expand patient access to their healthcare information. Organizations that do not comply with the new regulations, which apply to essentially any organization handling patient medical records, could face substantial penalties. The combined rules will have significant implications for healthcare providers, payers, and health IT vendors.