• Trump administration extended appointments for hospitals and EHR providers to comply with interoperability and information sharing rules for a second time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain resources health of the country.
• The planned action: For a few weeks now, rumors have been spreading based on public comments from healthcare IT managers and a proposed rule with a title indicating an extension of the deadline in September but a significant extension of the deadline compliance schedule, especially in comparison to too short a three-month extension announced in April.
Thursday’s interim final rule follows concerns from healthcare providers and IT groups that they may not be able to meet Monday’s deadline to share certain types of medical data with other providers, said the office of the National HHS Health It, coordinator. Extends this data and data related to terms and conditions and updating certification regulations that require EHR platforms to be integrated with third-party applications and other systems by April 2021.
Some provider groups, including the American Hospital Association, have called for greater leniency from the federal government to adhere to general data sharing rules and noted that the ongoing pandemic stress for providers is unlikely to continue subside in the short term.
The ONC rule standardizes application programming interfaces and updates the 2015 EHR certification criteria to ensure that IT systems send and receive data synchronously so that patients can export and view their medical information.
Thursday’s provisional final rule extends compliance dates and sets new future application dates for the information blocking provisions. It also adopts updated standards and clarifies some key principles of the ONC information blocking regulation, the agency said.
The ONC considered several factors, including the need to divert resources if the workforce needed more time to train, implement and extend the Emergency Secretary of Public Health of the HHS, Alex. Azar in October to decide on the new program.
The ONC decision was relatively easy since the next compliance deadline is Monday.
“To be clear, the ONC is not removing the requirements that promote patient access to their health information that is set out in the final rule of the Cures Act. Rather, we are allowing extra time to allow everyone in the process ecosystem to focus on the COVID 19 response, “ONC boss Don Rucker said in a statement.
On Monday, compliance with the information block and associated certification conditions was originally required, according to which EHR providers and vendors were to freely exchange information. However, this key deadline has been postponed to April 5, 2021.
Another important deadline for suppliers and other stakeholders to introduce standardized APIs was originally May 2022, which has been extended by three months and is now December 31, 2022. Suppliers are not required to export electronic health information by December 31, 2023.
Other HCE certification confirmation dates have been extended by one calendar year.
The standard has not yet been published in the Federal Register and has been revised by the Office of Administration and Budget since September.
HHS first postponed the requirements in April, although many stakeholders said the timeline was achievable even during the pandemic. The ONC has exercised its compliance discretion and has waived any original three-month dates or deadlines for the new requirements, while CMS has changed some deadlines for its interoperability rule, which is heavily dependent on l ‘ONC.
The original interoperability rules were finalized in early March after months of controversy when authorities attempted to bridge the gap between patient access and the protection of sensitive medical information. Many healthcare IT professionals have called for faster synchronization during the pandemic, as the country’s inability to share real-time data has hampered efforts to respond quickly to COVID-19 outbreaks and prevent the outbreak spread of the virus.