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Do you know what Information Blocking is in context of the 21st Century Cures Act? Is your health system compliant?

If this recent survey is any indication, you don't and you may not even care.

FTA

70% of participants in the Life Image survey said they were aware of the rules going into effect, up to half reported noncompliant practices – including charging patients fees to obtain records or sharing records via paper or CDs.

Nearly half of respondents said they had either not made any changes or did not know how to ensure their facility met requirements.

Two-thirds of the healthcare organization said they still used paper for healthcare data, and 32% used CDs.

And 39% did not know they risked civil monetary penalties for information blocking practices, and 15% currently charge $25 or more for patients to obtain records.

Nearly half – 48% – said they were not aware of practices that would be considered "information blocking."

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Patient centered interoperability is the single most important advancement in health IT in the past decade. This is law by way of the 21st Century Cures Act and clarified in rules drafted by ONC.

Do we really not know?

#healthcare #healthIT #cio #cmio #chime #himss

Transcript

This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

 Today in Health it, the story is our industry's ignorance of information blocking. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current. I. And engaged today. No sponsor. Just wanna make you aware of a service we offer.

We do three full length shows a week on this week in Health it. These are interviews, new shows, and even a solution Showcase episode. From time to time, you may not have time to listen every day, but we developed clip notes to keep you informed. An email 24 hours after each show airs on the channel with a summary, bullet points and two to four short video clips from the show.

Subscribe on our website this week, health.com. Just click on the subscribe button. Better yet, have your whole team subscribe and get the discussion started. On the right foot. Alright, here's today's story. And I have to admit, I am well aware of my failures when I read this story. I'm just gonna get right into it.

It's healthcare IT news. Confusion remains about ONC information blocking rules, even after start date. So nearly half of the respondents to a recent study. Said that they were not familiar with the term information blocking, although 70% said they were aware of the rules taking effect on April 5th, not realizing what rule took effect.

A poll taken this past month found that many healthcare industry stakeholders were still confused about federal information blocking rules, even though they were finalized more than a year ago. And their new April 5th start date has been long publicized. Now that the information blocking rules drafted by the ONC for health it are in effect, the poll suggests that many healthcare organizations may still not meet or even understand basic interoperability requirements.

The survey sent. This past month to 4,000 clinical technology and administrative leaders from providers, payers, IT, and other organizations by the clinical and imaging data network life image found that nearly half of the respondents were not familiar with the term information blocking among other troubling data points.

And this is a quote. Let's see. Our recent survey validates what life image has been witnessing across the healthcare ecosystem in terms of interoperability readiness. Said life image, CEO, and President Matthew McKayla in a statement. And Matthew spent a show on this weekend in health it, while the C Ovid 19 pandemic created a massive challenge and delayed many interoperability initiatives, it also underscored the paramount importance of the final ONC rules for advancing patient care and driving innovation.

And this is what I like about Healthcare IT News. They actually do the so what right here, why it matters. Information blocking provisions in 21st Century Cures went into effect on Monday with healthcare providers, developers of certified health IT and health information networks now required to follow a series of new requirements with eight specified exceptions for how their data must be shared.

This, despite the fact that an enforcement mechanism has not been developed to ensure compliance, and that's probably on the ONC side. That's the biggest problem, right? What needs to happen is you need to take money outta somebody's pocket before they're going to take any kinds of notice, is what we saw with mu.

It's what we see with everything. Healthcare doesn't respond to just, Hey, here's a suggestion. They need to be penalized. They need carrots or sticks in order to move forward. It's sad. It's true. So shame on them for not putting the enforcement rules in place. That's what it's gonna take. It's gonna take a couple of big fines.

Uh, we'll see. It goes on to say through the Caress Act, defined information blocking and establish penalties for those who engage in practices that interfere with the access exchange and use of electronic health information. Wrote, national Coordinator for Health, Mickey Tripathy and Deputy Coordinator Steve Pozak in an ONC blog.

Post on Monday, both previous guests of this week in Health it who talked about this rule on the show. The law excludes practices required by applicable law or if they meet at the exception, established by the HHS Secretary Pathy and Pozak. Said, TRO and Pozak explained that in the next 18 months, the information that can't be blocked is limited to the data elements represented in the US CDI, the U United States Court data for interoperability.

Right? And so again, we've talked about this on the show as well. What is in U-S-C-D-I is just some core data elements. Pretty basic. There are already discrete data elements. They should be enabled by FHIR in your EHR, and they should be available via API. So it really is not a heavy lift at this point.

This initial 18 month period and limited scope gives the regulated community time to grow more experience with the information blocking regulation, including when and how to meet the exception before the full scope of the regulation. EHI definition comes into effect. They wrote still, although 70% of the participants in the life image survey.

Said they were aware of the rules going into effect. Up to half reported non-compliance practices, including charging patients fees to obtain records or sharing records via paper or CDs. Nearly half of the respondents said that they had either not made any changes or did not know how to ensure their facility met requirements.

Two thirds of the healthcare organizations said they still use paper for healthcare data and. 32% used CDs and 39% did not know. They risked civil monetary penalties for information blocking practices and 15% currently charged $25 or more for patients to obtain records. Nearly half, 48% said they were not aware of practices that would be considered information blocking.

ONC will continue to release education materials and communicate with stakeholders about the information blocking regulations route pathy and poz. We remain closely partnered with HHS Office of Inspector General with respect to information blocking investigations and civil monetary penalties for which a final rule is still pending, as well as HHS.

Broadly, when it comes to disincentives for healthcare providers, they continued and they go on, they have the larger trend. The road to implementation of information blocking rules has been a winding one with more than a year since the ONC issued a final regulations. The COVID 19 pandemic certainly didn't help.

But the information that's been out there, so that's about it. Let's just, we'll get, we'll get into Arsa. What, again, I'm well aware of my failure as a host of this show, and I, I'll go into that in a minute, but I am almost tempted to go out there and stand up and application. Make it available on the app store, make it available in the, uh, Google Store for people to download, to request some basic U-S-C-D-I elements from their local health system.

And then just start making a list of health systems. And if you think this is gonna be hard, it's not gonna be all that hard to develop that app. My organization health lyrics actually helps organizations with architecture and that includes startups. And so it would not be much for me to get a team together, put together the architecture for this, the security framework, the uh, data sharing mechanisms utilizing FHIR and those kinds of things.

I have the network to put that together. Build that app, put it out there, make those requests, start listing the health systems that don't, and report that to the ONC. That would be a violation. I, I'm probably not gonna do that. I don't have time to do that, but there's part of me that wants to do that. I, I believe that patient-centered interoperability is the start of magic in healthcare.

It is the start of a renaissance in how we deliver care and a renaissance really from the patient perspective and how they experience care. Let me go on with my so what here, if you are in healthcare and specifically health it as a leader and are are unaware of information blocking, you should be alarmed.

This represents a certain amount of incompetence on your part. You are not staying current on the regulations that are coming down the pike. This wasn't sprung upon us. We started talking about 21st century cures and information blocking on this weekend health it about three years ago now. The rules were released.

I, I don't dunno, April of last year or something to that effect, but still, that's an area that we kept an eye on as ACIO. We had a. A group of people that as part of their responsibility, they had to stay current. They were either connected with Chime and their policy group so that they understood what was coming down.

And they do a great job. They send out an email every month on what's going on in the hill, what's coming down the pike. They do training sessions. They create. White papers, they create quick implementation guides, for heaven's sake. It's all there if you're not staying current. I, I realize it's a strong word to say incompetence, but it is a certain level of incompetence.

This wasn't sprung upon us. This has been coming for a while and Chime and others have been talking about this for a while, and we've been talking about it on the show for a while now. The rules weren't set. I get that. And we had a pandemic. I get that as well. But still regulations or regulations, you always keep an eye on that.

I hope there are no CIOs on this list. That answered this and said, I don't know what information blocking is. If your team is not aware of information blocking, here's what I'd like for you to do. Go out to this week health.com and sign up for clip notes Immediately. I talked about what that is earlier in the show.

Also, make sure that you're subscribed to this podcast today in Health it. We talked about information blocking almost every week like we have for almost . Three months, maybe even six months. Then get as many people in your health IT organization to to subscribe and even your leadership team. This may sound self-serving.

It's not. Our mission is to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward and develop the next generation of health leaders. When I hear something like this, I realize. That we have failed. We have a long way to go, and more people need to make the commitment to remain current on topics that impact their chosen profession.

That's all for today. At the risk of sounding redundant, if you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Apple, Google Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher. You get the picture, we're there for you.

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