HHS releases final interoperability rules
By Mandy Roth, HealthLeaders Media
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized two interoperability rules to give patients direct access to their healthcare data. The first provisions of the rule will impact healthcare systems in as soon as six months.
The two rules, issued by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), were announced last year, and the final rules were issued today. They are expected to "empower patients around a common aim—giving every American access to their medical information so they can make better healthcare decisions," according to a release issued by CMS.
"Americans will now have electronic access to their health information on their smartphone if they choose," said ONC National Coordinator Don Rucker, MD, during a White House media briefing this morning. "Our rule requires hospitals and doctors to provide software access points—end points, if you will—to their electronic medical record databases so that patients can download these records to their smartphones."
One key deadline for health systems occurs six months from today, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "We are changing the conditions of participation for hospitals to ensure Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals are supporting care coordination for patients by sending admission, discharge, and transfer notifications so patients receive a timelier follow up, supporting better care and better health outcomes," she said.