5 comments on HHS' interoperability rules from the CMS portal

The comment period on HHS' proposed CMS and ONC guidelines to the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking and the ONC Health IT Certification Program ends June 3.

Under the guidelines, CMS proposed requirements including expanding patient access to medical records and other health information electronically by 2020. Additionally, ONC suggested that the healthcare industry adopt standardized application programming interfaces to provide patients with easier access to their electronic health data as well as information-blocking revisions, among other proposals.

The proposed interoperability rules currently have 799 comments total. The public comment period began March 4 and will close June 3.

Here are five comments pulled from the CMS portal, listed in no particular order:

1. "COMMON SENSE! Rules to give patients access to prices and all of their health information. This price transparency plan would mean no more surprise, exorbitant medical bills, no more guessing what you owe, and no more trying to figure out how to pay them." — Howard Stafford.

2. "I support price transparency in health care. We need a competitive market in health care, and that begins with consumers knowing how much they will be charged by various providers for services. It should not be a surprise." — Theresa Camoriano.

3. "As a parent of a child with special needs, being able to access your child's medical information would be a game changer. Having been to hundreds of [physician] and specialist visits over the years, being able to access information from other [physician] visits would have saved us a lot time and money. In a visit to an endocrinologist, we had to repeat blood work because she was unable to access my daughter's information from her recent visit with the cardiologist at the same hospital system. With access to her medical history, we could have prevented additional lab work…" — Susan Sims.

4. "Pricing transparency is an excellent first step. Please consider however, requiring referring physicians to involve patients (consumers) in the selection of follow up providers and services made during office visits. Anxiety runs high during many office visits. Following an initial diagnosis, there is often a crucial moment of trust during which a physician will recommend (and schedule) next steps, usually with little to no patient input. Requiring referring physicians to acknowledge cost as a factor in their decision making process would be a massive benefit to those who ultimately pay for that care." — Charles Todd.

5. "As a patient, there are times when I need all of the data in my record, not just a few data points. If I switch primary care providers or need to see specialists for a new condition, such as a cancer diagnosis, I need all of my data, not just some of it. I strongly support ONCs proposal to require an Electronic Health Information Export free of charge to me as a patient." — Gavriela Fine.

To access the CMS comment portal, click here.

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