Survey: 17% of health execs unaware of Cures Act rules

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Many healthcare providers and payers are in the dark when it comes to the 21st Century Cures Act’s health IT requirements, according to a new survey by Accenture.

The firm surveyed 76 chief information officers, chief technology officers and vice presidents of information technology at U.S. healthcare providers and healthcare payers with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

What Accenture found was that 17 percent of health executives are “completely unaware” of the 21st Century Cures Act, which requires greater patient access to healthcare records and sharing of such records—with 65 percent only “somewhat” or “vaguely” familiar with the law’s provisions.

“The 21st Century Cures Act is likely to have a major, disruptive impact on health providers and payers, with new rules on patient access to medical records and the interoperability of those records across networks expected in 2020,” states Accenture. “Our research focused on tapping the views of senior health IT executives regarding awareness of the Act and preparedness by their organizations for compliance and its impact on healthcare consumers.”

Overall, payers seem to be better informed than providers, with 26 percent of payers indicating in the survey that they are “very familiar” with the Cures Act provisions versus 16 percent of providers.

In addition, while 26 percent of payers contend that their organization is “very prepared” for the new rules, only 5 percent of providers feel the same way about the level of preparedness at their organizations.

“Our survey findings are a wake-up call for health organizations and agencies that remain relatively uninformed about the regulations, or who are not actively preparing,” says Andy Truscott, managing director and technology consulting lead in Accenture’s health practice. “Complying with the regulations will provide them with a major opportunity to enhance the services they provide and to fundamentally improve consumer engagement in their healthcare.”

Accenture recommends that healthcare organizations that are lagging in Cures Act awareness and preparedness take the following steps:

· Ensure their technology and compliance leadership are familiar with the new rules,

· Assess and analyze their organization’s current interoperability provisions,

· Complete gap analyses and develop remediation plans for a 12 to 18 month timeframe,

· Manage communications—internally and externally—to help healthcare professionals and consumers adapt to the new rules.

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