21st Century Cures Act Insights on Finalized Rules: Healthcare Providers Who Can Deliver Deeper Medical Record Access to their Patients May See Competitive Advantages

In many ways, the healthcare industry and consumers are finding there are gaps in medical information accessibility. In a recent nationwide survey of 2,517 healthcare consumers, 67% said they will consider changing their doctor or hospital providers in the coming year after learning how their health record was not shareable, available or was blocked in the past year.

This survey comes on the heels of the finalized rules from the 21st Century Cures Act (first released in 2016, with finalized rules released on March 9, 2020) which promotes expanded patient access to their electronic information, supports provider needs, advances innovation and addresses industry-wide information blocking practices.

The finalized rules require more extensive patient access to their electronic medical records without charge by their healthcare provider and in the format that they choose. This is updated from the requirements from the Meaningful Use guidelines from 2018 and now includes consultation notes, discharge summary notes, history & physical, imaging narratives, lab report narratives, pathology report narratives, procedure and progress notes.

It is important to note that the finalized rule around interoperability, information blocking and ONC Health IT Certification was going to start being enforced on Nov. 2, 2020. However, in light of COVID-19, the ONC announced it will exercise discretion in enforcing all new requirements. For current updates from the ONC, visit their website.

How healthcare IT delivers on these finalized rules is somewhere on every healthcare organization’s to-do list. Moving it toward the top could make could business sense. Industry experts suggest healthcare organizations look at meeting the finalized rules sooner rather than later and as an opportunity for business success, citing that adopting the rules as soon as possible represents a huge business opportunity.

Those physician practices and health systems that can step up, navigate the obstacles and deliver robust patient access to health information through apps and next-gen digital tools, may find themselves at a competitive advantage.

Speaking of competitive advantages, let’s talk about the long game.

One big step forward in the health data management race is to consolidate legacy EHR, ERP and HR systems that require logging in to multiple systems to fulfill a single release of information request into an active archive. Further, single sign-on allows a seamless connection from the current EHR (i.e., Single Sign-On from Epic) in context, to the patient’s historical medical record.

As healthcare providers continue to adapt and evolve with how they need health and business data to flow through technology systems and now more fluidly to patients on new apps, it will be even more important to have a solid lifecycle data management plan that consolidates disparate data sets. With some multi-hospital organizations managing 30-40 read-only legacy EHR systems with varying states of usability, it is even more important to get the weight off and have a lean and forward-thinking data management strategy for the long haul.

As your team continues to adapt to rules, follow retention guidelines and safely guide the data within your care wherever it needs to go, it’s a good time to make sure your inventory of applications is consolidated, secured, accessible and usable.

An active archive such as HealthData Archiver® is a long-term medical data storage strategy that reduces or eliminates legacy system management costs, provides role-based security and is a vendor-neutral long-term home for legacy records. Secure, compliant, long-term PHI storage in an electronic health data archive solution helps manage the legacy application portfolio which saves on maintenance contracts, mitigates technical risk, and reduces labor burden. With an active archive, outdated legacy systems can be decommissioned and ROI is often seen in 18-24 months.

Ranked #1 in the 2020 Best in KLAS Report for Data Archiving, the Harmony Healthcare IT team has worked with hundreds of EMR/ERP software brands, archiving billions of records and storing petabytes of data. We migrate and archive records across the care continuum – for hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, clinics, labs, blood banks, home health care, long-term care, and more.

We move data where it is needed. We break barriers that stump other data management companies.

The data race in healthcare is speeding up.

We’re ready.

Contact us.

Note: This blog was updated from a previous version published on Sept. 16, 2020.

Mar 01 2021

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