Pew Urges Federal Government to Prioritize Better Exchange of Health Data

The Pew Charitable Trusts sent comments Jan. 4 to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to support the easy exchange of individuals’ health records through a pair of regulations.

In its comments to ONC, Pew urges the agency, part of the U.S. Department of Department of Health and Human Services, to avoid further delays in implementing its rules on information blocking, or limiting the sharing of patients’ health data with anyone who has a right to access it. Specifically, the letter focuses on a provision that expands the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to share information. Implementation of the rules was delayed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic; the API provision is currently scheduled to take effect in December 2022.

The comments to CMS, meanwhile, relate to a draft regulation the agency released in December that would require groups involved in federal health programs such as Medicaid to use APIs to support the exchange of patient health information. Pew calls on the agency to use the regulation to expand the ability of both providers and patients to access and share information in electronic health records.

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