With the April 5, 2021, Information Blocking deadline just weeks away, ACP has focused its attention on reinforcing members' understanding of these regulations and supporting efforts to improve interoperability and health information access for patients and physicians. While the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Information Blocking Rule and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Patient Access Rule both seek to remove physician burden by way of eliminating onerous administrative tasks associated with information access and exchange, there still exist a number of implementation challenges and outstanding questions regarding enforcement.
As highlighted in a recent ACP Advocate article, the College has recently developed information blocking/data sharing regulatory resources to help physicians take advantage of reductions in burden and maximize exchange practices. ACP has also teamed up with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) to publish these resources to CHIME's new resource hub, which features links to regulatory overviews; documents; articles; cheat sheets; and guides submitted by ACP, CHIME, the American Medical Association, and other participating organizations.
Following these sweeping interoperability and information blocking rules, the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS’) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued a proposed rule that would update the HIPAA Privacy Rule to make it easier to share protected health information (PHI) among health care physicians, payers, patients, and caregivers. In this new rulemaking, OCR aims to remove barriers to sharing PHI; reduce regulatory burdens on physicians; and, in time, address several issues highlighted by the ongoing pandemic related to privacy and public health. The College is supportive of those proposals that reduce burden on physicians; however, we will continue to encourage HHS to provide guidance that helps members get a more practical idea of permitted practices and acceptable disclosure policies.
Patients Before Paperwork Update:
If you would like to work with your chapter to advocate for regulatory relief during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit ACP's Chapter Advocacy Toolkit for more resources and calls to action.
Patients Before Paperwork is an ACP initiative designed to reinvigorate the patient–physician relationship by challenging unnecessary practice burdens. To help the Patients Before Paperwork Initiative, provide your feedback with our online data collection tool and contact the Patients Before Paperwork team directly at email@example.com.