Healthcare Finance: Interoperability rules give patients ‘agency’ says ONC head Don Rucker

“The goal of the interoperability rules is to move the healthcare system from an environment built by providers and payers to one in which patients are in control, according to Dr. Don Rucker, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, during a HIMSS20 Digital session Thursday with HIMSS CEO and President Hal Wolf.”

“‘What the goal really is, is to give patients electric modern software control of their medical care, of their chart and of their information,’ said Rucker to the more than 500 listeners on the call. ‘To use a nerd word, it’s to give the patient agency…’”

“The rules mandate providers and payers to give patients access to their medical records and claims data through API-enabled third-party applications. They ban data blocking by keeping information siloed and force the secure sharing of data.”

“Providers will be required to connect patients’ electronic health records to third-party apps using APIs built to FHIR standards.”

“Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP health plans, as well as those sold on the federal exchanges, will also need to grant electronic access to patient claims data.”

“‘The patients have a right to that data. That is not something to be guarded, given out; it is the patients’ data for the patients to control, to move as they desire, rather than being purely under the control of providers and payers,’ Rucker said…”

WHY THIS MATTERS

“The move to put patients at the center of their healthcare information, and to move away from what Rucker called provider and payer control, has met with some resistance from these groups.”

“America’s Health Insurance Plans has said the mandate to share health information threatens patient privacy.”

“After the ONC and CMS gave extensions to rule implementation due to providers and payers responding to the COVID-19 crisis, AHIP said it appreciated the additional time, but that it expected more time would be needed ‘given the magnitude and anticipated duration of the challenges…’” Read the full article here.

Source: Interoperability rules give patients ‘agency’ says ONC head Don Rucker – By Susan Morse, April 30, 2020. Healthcare Finance.

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