March 09, 2020
ONC, CMS Release Sweeping Rules on Patient and Physician Access to Medical Records
On March 9, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released final rules that are, according to officials, “designed to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information” and “aims to increase innovation and competition by fostering an ecosystem of new applications to provide patients with more choices in their healthcare.” A significant part of this approach is based upon development of secure application programming interfaces (APIs) so that patients can manage their health data on smartphones, tablets and other electronic resources, if they choose to, in a manner similar to how patients may manage their financial data.
Administration officials have stated several goals related to the roll out of these final rules. To them, of primary importance is ensuring patient security and safeguarding patient data and privacy. Second, administration officials believe that providing transparent data and reasonable data access to patients will assist Medicare patients and their physicians in identifying relevant medical information to improve quality and timeliness of care. Last, HHS officials believe these changes will allow physicians to provide better patient care since the physician would have access to a more comprehensive set of patient medical data.
Last year, ASA submitted comments requesting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) pursue a policy of greater inclusion and consideration of physician anesthesiologists in federal decision-making regarding interoperability, information blocking and patient access to medical records. Physician anesthesiologist participation in interoperability initiatives and data sharing has often been limited by delayed implementation at local facilities and lack of access to clinical data housed by hospitals, payers and others that could lead many departments to a greater understanding of patient outcomes with regard to anesthesia care.
ASA physicians and staff are currently reviewing these rules and expect to release additional assessments and guidance in the near future.
Contact ASA Department of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.