CHIME: ONC's interoperability rule will leave patients' sensitive data vulnerable to consumer apps

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives penned a letter to Congress on Dec. 16 that claims ONC's proposed interoperability rule lacks adequate safety regulations to protect patients' sensitive information.

CHIME provided the letter as a response to calls from Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., for comments on "Cures 2.0," which is an update of the 21st Century Cures Act.

While CHIME supports various provisions mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act to advance health IT in the care delivery process, including incorporating application program interface standards, EHR certification and EHR vendor business practices, the organization stressed more policies need to be enacted to prevent the misuse of patient data by third parties.

Third-party apps are currently not required to follow data blocking policies under ONC's proposed rule, according to CHIME. This makes patients' sensitive data vulnerable to healthcare apps that manage said data. 

"Unless these policies are changed, a big chunk of the healthcare sector like providers and EHR vendors will have to abide by one set of rules governing promoting the sharing of patient information, and third-party apps and those managing the app ecosystem will not," CHIME said in its letter, which was emailed to Becker's Hospital Review. "This will create an unlevel playing field and further perpetuate the notion that healthcare apps are the Wild West."

CHIME represents more than 3,200 CIOs and other senior-level health IT leaders.

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