- A regulatory deadline kicked in Thursday requiring providers and other healthcare entities to be able to share a significantly larger scope of data with patients, despite major provider groups arguing they’re not ready to comply.
- As of Thursday, information blocking regulations apply to all electronic health information in a record that qualifies as protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
- Previously, providers only had to make available data elements in a specific dataset called United States Core Data for Interoperability.
The government has been phasing in compliance with sweeping information blocking regulations over the past two years, a process that ends with the new deadline, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT reminded stakeholders in a recent blog post.
Now, the data that providers, IT vendors and other healthcare entities are required to share with patients and each other is no longer limited to data elements in the USCDI dataset.
Late last month, the American Hospital Association and other provider groups sent a letter to the HHS urging regulators to delay expanding the definition of EHI by a year. The letter argues providers are not ready to meet the deadline due to confusion over the regulations’ implementation and enforcement requirements, including what they say is an unclear definition of EHI and a lack of technical infrastructure to support its exchange.
In the blog post, Deputy National Coordinator Steve Posnack said the government has “sought to make sure that [information blocking] actors had ample time to evaluate and revise their practices,” including delaying the applicability date of the regulations twice during the coronavirus pandemic, and limiting the scope of EHI for another 18 months from that applicability date.
The information blocking regulations finalized in early 2020 require providers, health information exchanges and health IT developers certified by the ONC to widely share data with patients and each other.
In March, the HHS said it had received almost 300 complaints about potential information blocking since the regulations came into effect in April 2021, with the majority filed against healthcare providers. Regulators send all possible claims along to HHS’ Office of Inspector General for investigation, and bad actors can be fined up to $1 million per information-blocking incident.