Industry group efforts are ramping up efforts to get a federal agency to publish regulations intended to enable the free flow of patient data.
Health IT Now, a coalition of industry stakeholders supporting the use of data and information technologies to improve healthcare, along with 14 other organizations is pushing the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to publish information blocking regulations.
The groups contend that the rules were mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act, but have not yet been released, more than 600 days after enactment of the Act.
“Every day that the Administration delays implementation of these critical provisions places patients at risk of harm,” the coalition tells ONC. “The lack of clear rules of the road needlessly creates uncertainty for vendors and providers alike.”
Information blocking, Health IT Now and its partners assert, is one of the largest obstacles to achieving widespread exchange and use of patient data.
In addition to issuing regulations to prevent the blocking of information, ONC also was to have implemented a standardized process for the public to submit reports about health IT products that are not interoperable or activities that otherwise hamper information exchange.
The group’s letter notes that the Office of the Inspector General has enforcement authority over vendors and providers practicing information blocking.
“As the administration proposes and implements new rules related to open APIs and interoperability in Medicare’s payment rules for hospitals and doctors, the lack of clear rules of the road needlessly create uncertainty for vendors and providers alike,” according to the Health IT Now coalition. “We understand the nuance required, but feel that it is past time for a proposal to be made.”
Donald Rucker, MD, national coordinator for health IT, recently noted in a blog posting in Health Affairs that in addition to developing rules to prevent information blocking, additional new rules will identify behaviors not considered to be information blocking, which will aid the administration’s Cures Act provisions that prohibit information blocking. The Health IT Now letter to Donald Rucker and Inspector General Daniel Levinson is available here.
Other organizations signing onto the letter included:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Medical Informatics Association
Brain Injury Association of America
Cambia Health Solutions
Claim Your Health Data Coalition
National MS Society
New Directions Technology Consulting
United Spinal Association
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