Responding to public comments and identifying reasonable and necessary updates, the ONC made revisions from the original Cures Act to areas such as standards, certifications, electronic prescriptions, and security. It also defined the timeline required for Health IT to be compliant with current legislation (6 months) and to fully comply with the Cures Act Final Rule specifications (24 months).
Section IV of the Cures Act Final Rule focuses on the delivery of information. One of the ONC’s purposes is to place patients at the center of their own care with access to data, improved care and by promoting competition. The Final Rule addresses obstacles with industry-wide information blocking practices by allowing for means of safe and secure access to a patient’s own Electronic Health Information (EHI, also referred to as an “ePHI” [electronically protected health information.]) In section 4004, the ONC specifically addresses eight common-sense exceptions to stated information blocking provisions, providing that the practices are reasonable and necessary. Interoperability – the sharing of information across computer/software systems – is a stated aim of the Cures Act Final Rule.
“Summary of Care Security Tags” are updated and defined – both for sending and receiving information. “Granular privacy marking capabilities” was preserved so that in supporting multiple-service care, such as in behavioral health settings, information can be shared in an easily integrated manner. By establishing application programming interfaces (APIs - i.e. smartphone apps) to access sensitive health information, a patient is given greater control and coordination of their own health care by having access to their personal health records. In addition, facilities and caregivers using certified APIs can readily share patient information while adhering to HIPAA regulations. The creation of APIs broadens accessibility to information for patients at no extra cost – and opens the market for competition and, therefore, continual improvements.
The publicly displayed version of the Final Rule is not a final version, the document posted online may vary slightly from the published document is minor editorial changes have been made during the Office of Federal Register (OFR) review process. To find more information on the Cures Act Final Rule, to download the Rule, and to view fact sheets, please visit here.