CMS weighs whether to adjust interoperability rule timeline amid coronavirus pandemic

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., CMS is evaluating the timeline for its final interoperability rule that was released earlier this month.

Five notes:

1. The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee met on March 18 to discuss HHS' finalized interoperability rules, which were issued by CMS and ONC in February 2019 and finalized this month.

2. When asked during the meeting whether CMS was considering altering the rule's timeline due to COVID-19, Denise St. Clair, who works within the agency's health informatics office, said CMS is evaluating the projected timeline and its application programming interface requirements.

3. Under CMS' interoperability rule, payers regulated by the agency are required to implement and maintain the Patient Access API by Jan. 1, 2021, which will patients to easily access their health data via third-party apps of their choice.

4. CMS-regulated payers are also required by Jan. 1, 2022, to implement a process for exchanging patient clinical data at the individual's request, so patients can take their information with them as they move from payer to payer over time.

5. ONC did not address any discussions about altering its interoperability rule timeline, an agency spokesperson confirmed to Becker's Hospital Review. The rule requires vendors to adopt APIs that will help patients more easily access their health data from smartphone apps.

More articles on EHRs:
UMass adds feature in EHR for providers to communicate with infection control specialists
Former VA secretary: Decision to delay Cerner EHR go-live is a 'sign the process is working'
Viewpoint: Coronavirus is 'ultimate stress test' for EHRs

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