ONC eyes final rule on interoperability

3D illustration of interoperability
HHS and ONC's major rules on interoperability could be finalized by the end of the year. (Profit_Image/Shutterstock)

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) could finalize by the end of the year its major rule on healthcare interoperability that the agencies released back in February.

The proposed rule would require Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare Advantage plans and qualified health plans to make customer data immediately accessible via application programming interfaces by next year.

It also outlined new fines for hospitals or physicians that block patient access to their own medical records.

The healthcare industry, though, is hoping that CMS takes a more phased-in approach to implementing any new interoperability requirements, as the timelines are far too aggressive.

RELATED: CMS, ONC interoperability regs are the floor, not the ceiling for health plans, hospitals, survey finds

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the top insurance lobbying group, said that the rule should be phased in no sooner than 2022 and should be tied to the development of standards.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives recommended that healthcare providers shouldn’t face the same penalties imposed on other entities such as vendors. Such penalties could create a disincentive for providers to participate in information sharing, CHIME added.

ONC eyes final rule on interoperability