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HHS Proposing to Mandate Streamlined Public Access to Electronic Health Data

The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to streamline patients’ access to electronic health information and mandate providers’ use of open data sharing platforms to foster transparency, HHS said Monday.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued the proposed rules calling for the healthcare industry to implement standardized application programming interfaces to enable easy and free access to patient health data through devices such as smartphones.

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HHS also wants to implement provisions under the 21st Century Cure Act that prohibits “information blocking” by providers and directs public access to comments on pricing data. Users will be allowed to report providers or hospitals that are participating in information blocking. 

According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, around 125 million patients will receive easy access to their health claims data once health insurers are mandated to share information with the public by 2020. The proposed healthcare delivery system regulations support the MyHealthEData effort aiming to streamline the flow of healthcare information.

The rules will cover programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicare Advantage as well as qualified health plans in the federally-facilitated exchanges.

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