HHS Called on to Eliminate Health Information Blocking

Kate Monica | EHR Intelligence | August 31, 2017

A coalition of stakeholders seeks a more focused approach to ending health information blocking to improve interoperability at HHS.

A coalition of healthcare stakeholders convened by Health IT Now called HHS and its departments to eliminate information blocking so that providers can effectively aggregate patient EHRs and advance interoperability. The letter from organizations including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), AMIA, DirectTrust, and athenahealth requested HHS issue a proposed rule that takes existing laws, standardization, patient health data access, and other complicating factors into consideration.

Undersigned organizations drew up the recommendations during an information blocking workgroup summit hosted by Health IT Now on July 25, 2017. “This business practice barrier to interoperability does not just thwart federal and private efforts to more fully share clinical information, it may pose significant risk to patient safety,” stated the letter. “For instance, information blocking impedes provider access to the most current, accurate, or complete information on their patients.”

Incomplete patient EHRs can lead to gaps in information and inhibit accurate patient care delivery. The coalition pointed to existing provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act as being potentially effective in eliminating information blocking, but stated provisions need to be clearer and more targeted...To address any potential challenges to implementing provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act, the coalition recommended HHS solicit feedback from a broad range of stakeholders....