ONC proposes expanding core data for interoperability

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published a draft version 2 of the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI). The USCDI establishes a baseline set of data to be exchanged across care settings. Version 1 of the USCDI was adopted as part of the ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act final rule published on May 1, 2020. The USCDI is incorporated into the certification standards for electronic health technology, and also is significant for application of the information blocking prohibition. Information blocking is a practice of a developer of certified health information technology, a health care provider, or health information exchange that interferes with access, exchange or use of electronic health information (EHI). Before October 6, 2022, EHI covered by the information blocking prohibition is limited to the data elements included in the USCDI.

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ONC unveils new website devoted to Cures Act Rules

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published a new website devoted to the Cures Act final rule. The Cures Act rule introduced new certification requirements for developers of health information technology, regarding (i) export of electronic health information (EHI) to respond to patient access requests and to support health care providers that transition from one electronic health record to another, and (ii) standardized application programming interfaces (APIs). The rule also prohibits information blocking, which is defined as a practice by a health IT developer, a provider, and certain other parties to interfere with access, use or exchange of EHI.

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ONC surveys consumer perspectives on research participation via APIs

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has introduced a number of initiatives to encourage use of standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) for sharing patient health information among patients, providers and potentially others. One initiative, designated the “Accelerating APIs for Scientific Discovery” project, aims to study potential uses of APIs for medical research.

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ONC extends compliance dates for 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued an interim final rule extending the compliance dates for the information blocking and health information technology (HIT) certification requirements established in the ONC Cures Act Final Rule published on May 1, 2020. The ONC determined these extensions were necessary because health care providers and HIT developers are currently focused on response to the COVID-19 pandemic (including electronic reporting of COVID cases).

The original effective date for compliance with the information blocking rules was November 2, 2020; this is moved to April 5, 2021. The purpose of the information blocking rules is to prevent providers and developers from adopting practices that interfere with a patient’s ability to access, or to authorize the exchange of, the patient’s electronic health information. The ONC Cures Act Final Rule limited the applicability to certain core data until May 2, 2022; this period is now extended to October 6, 2022.

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