EHNAC helping to craft new digital policies

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The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission is one of several industry organizations working with federal agencies to build out digital capabilities for healthcare.

Participating organizations have created seven workgroups charged with developing programs to review emerging technologies, such as blockchain, that can aid in bringing forth interoperability and patient data access, two concepts that are beginning to be accepted in the industry, says Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC.

EHNAC accredits a range of industry stakeholders for meeting best practices for electronically exchanging healthcare data is one of several groups working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to bring to fruition the promises of the 21st Century Cures Act, focusing on data privacy and security, patient access to their data and interoperability across the industry.

Participants also are looking at the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is expected to change how data is handled across industries. California is an early adopter of GDPR, having passed privacy laws in 2018 based on the international regulation, Barrett notes.

The regulation is important as the concept of giving patients control over their own health data is in the early stages of gaining acceptance in the United States, he contends.

That’s why it is critical for the industry to start developing education for providers, insurers and other entities on the need to enable patients to have their record, as many provider organizations continue to be reluctant to release records to patients, Barrett says.

Even those providers who want to give records access don’t know how to do it, but the use of patient portals could be the conduit to giving access, Barrett believes.

“Right now, you may have to log on to each of your physicians’ portals to get your data,” he notes. “None of this is integrated, but there are a lot of initiatives around healthcare consumers now. “If your health information exchange is insolvent, what is your transition plan to give patients their data?”

To aid providers in adapting to the coming changes in patient access, EHNAC recently developed a series of consulting and advisory services to help providers go through various accreditation processes.

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