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Complying With the New Information Blocking Rules

New information blocking regulations developed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act went into effect on April 5, 2021, with the goal of facilitating better and more secure access to electronic health information (EHI). The following information is provided by our advocacy partner, Hart Health Strategies. Read the briefing document.

What is information blocking?
Information blocking refers to a practice that is likely to interfere with access, exchange or use of EHI. The rule applies to providers (hospitals/physicians), health IT developers and health information exchanges/networks.

What EHI data is an allergy practice required to share?
The types of data subject to the new regulations include patient medical and billing records, and other records used by physicians to make decisions about an individual’s health care. These include:
•    Consultation notes
•    Discharge summary notes
•    History and physical
•    Imaging narratives
•    Laboratory and pathology report narratives
•    Procedure notes
•    Progress notes

Specific data elements are defined in the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) v.1 standard.

How quickly must I make EHI available to patients?
There is no requirement to make EHI information available proactively to individuals who have not asked, but when it is requested the data should be provided in a timely manner (such as sharing test results in a patient portal as soon as they are available).

What if I can’t fulfill a request for EHI?
Under the new regulations, physicians must respond and release patients’ medical records unless an appropriate exception applies. These exceptions are divided into two categories:
•    Exceptions to not fulfilling the request to access, exchange or use EHI. This includes scenarios where information is not shared to prevent patient harm, protect patient privacy and ensure the security of EHI.
•    Exceptions that involve procedures for fulfilling requests to access, exchange or use EHI. This applies to a situation where the physician is willing to share the information, but may need to do so in a different format than requested, or to address specific considerations, such as intellectual property rights or fees, before doing so.

For more detailed information on each exception, review this ONC Information Blocking Exceptions Fact Sheet.
Additional Resources
Information Blocking Toolkit for Medical Practices (from the Medical Group Management Association)
ONC Information Blocking Fact Sheet