The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released final rules March 9 that will implement interoperability and patient access provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act. The final rule put forth by CMS focuses on driving interoperability and patient access to health information by implementing policies that will help patient data flow freely and securely between payors, providers, and patients. The goals of the two rules are aligned in many ways; however, the rule that ONC introduced aims to provide additional opportunities for innovation through secure access to health data and new tools to help patients shop for and coordinate their own care.
Both rules finalized the adoption of standardized application programming interfaces and information-blocking provisions. Together, these final rules mark the most extensive health care data sharing policies the federal government has implemented, requiring both public and private entities to share health information between patients and other parties while keeping that information private and secure.
CMS and ONC both offer fact sheets that summarize the finalized policies in these rules. For more information, contact QualityDC@facs.org.