CMS Proposed Rule on Interoperability in Healthcare

CMS Proposed Rule on Interoperability in Healthcare

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On March 4, 2019, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Programs (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access submitted an official document, a proposed rule, explaining new policies to address advancement of interoperability and patient access to health information. The vision is to put the patient in the center of their health care and grant them easy access to their team of healthcare providers.

Currently, our healthcare system focuses on providing the latest healthcare services to patients. For instance, healthcare providers have started to implement infrared imaging devices for detecting veins to do blood work. However, according to CMS, one critical issue in the health system is that consumers cannot easily access their full health information. Healthcare providers usually have to piece information together in order to get a complete picture of a patient’s medical history in order to create the best health plan. This creates a lag in healthcare delivery and runs a risk of making errors.

The proposed rule suggests that patients have the ability to access their administrative and clinical records throughout their medical journey. A public comment posted by AMDA- The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine on this rule showed support and suggestions for the future. Practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings are in need of interoperability because they see patients at multiple locations. In general, they have burdensome paperwork to keep track of in order to avoid any penalties. A concern is maintaining patient privacy whilst increasing interoperability.

2020 Interoperability Program Overview

By October 1, 2020, under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act), “Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) and Home Health Agencies (HHAs) are required to transfer an individual’s health information and care preferences when transitioning to another setting”. Providers are required to update Electronic Health Records (EHR), however, what is being proposed is an implementation of electronic sharing that would connect a patient’s different EHRs and thus provide a comprehensive picture of a patient’s medical history.

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 CMS, in it’s final rule, has four main objectives for the 2020 fiscal year.

  • Electronic prescribing – providers are required to prescribe medication electronically.
  • Health Information Exchange – support electronic referral loops by sending health information
  • Provider to Patient Exchange – provide patients access to their EHRs
  • Public Health and Clinical Data Exchange –  have a synchronized reporting system.
At Hucu.ai, we have taken on the initiative of providing a seamless process in communicating regarding patient status via a free HIPAA-compliant messaging app. We understand how complex the healthcare ecosystem can get. Therefore, Hucu.ai provides features such as: sending hipaa compliant messages, uploading images for teams to access, seeing real-time availability, and easily communicate with other healthcare providers. These features are replacing the traditional calling, sending faxes, emails, etc that risk data safety and take time. Our messaging app is catered to provide HIPAA compliant access to shared information.
In conclusion, steps are being implemented to bridge the gap between EHRs and patient access. It is a work in progress and at Hucu.ai, we are working on increasing interoperability by making the communication process simple and less burdensome.

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