ONC Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) (@ONC_HealthIT) issued a proposed rule to support seamless and secure access to, exchange of, and use of electronic health information (EHI).

The proposed rule is designed to increase innovation and competition by giving patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information and to new tools, allowing for more choice in care and treatment. It calls on the healthcare industry to adopt standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), which would allow individuals to securely and easily access structured EHI using applications for smartphones and other mobile devices.

The proposed rule would implement provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act that deter and penalize information blocking by outlining seven proposed exceptions to its definition under the law.

The proposed rule would place a strong focus on patient access to their health information through a provision requiring that patients could electronically access their EHI at no cost. It would also encourage competition and new business models in the health care market.

The proposed rule also includes a request for information on the parameters and implications of including price information within the scope of EHI and if that information would help the public see the prices they are paying for their healthcare.

The proposed rule is posted on HealthIT.gov for review and will be published in the Federal Register soon. ONC encourages stakeholders to provide their comments through the Federal Register online submission process, once it has been published there. We’ll update HealthIT.gov once the proposed rule is published by the Federal Register.