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Senate Health Leaders Voice Concerns Over Health Records Inter-Operability

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Senate Health Leaders Voice Concerns Over Health Records Inter-Operability

May 20, 2019

ANCOR is sharing this article by Politico Pro in case it is relevant to the operations of our members, who support people with disabilities in their day-to-day life. Part of these supports include coordinating meetings, appointments, etc. with teams of health providers and specialists, who may rely on electronic health records.

As written by Politico Pro:

“The Trump administration shouldn't rush its implementation of interoperability requirements, which may be unreasonable for industry and could threaten patient privacy, Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander said this morning.

‘We don't need to set a record time to get [to full interoperability], with an unrealistic timeline,’ Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in his opening statement at a hearing.

Industry groups have raised compliance concerns about CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and ONC [Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT] proposals to force the health care industry to share data more efficiently, particularly with patients. Startup Verato, for example, said the rules would phase in information blocking bans without allowing the time needed to adjust documentation procedures.

EHR vendors, including Epic founder Judy Faulkner, have questioned who would be legally responsible for data released to third-party apps. Observers have predicted that deadlines for some of the proposals would be pushed back at least a year in a final rule, which will come sometime after the June 3 close of public comment on the proposals.

Alexander cited a 2020 deadline for insurers to share data with patients as an example of an unrealistic deadline. He also raised questions about whether rules to facilitate third-party app connection to EHRs could make patient data vulnerable to privacy incursions during transfer.

Those ‘questions I'm not sure have been answered,’ he said.

Senate HELP ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) echoed those privacy concerns. ‘Patients should expect that tech companies will use their most sensitive information responsibly,’ she said.’