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Ten compliance concerns related to information blocking

Josh D. Mast (josh.mast@cerner.com) is Lead Regulatory Strategist at Cerner Corporation in Shawnee, KS, and Cheri Whalen (cwhalen@ntst.com) is Regulatory Strategist at Netsmart in Overland Park, KS.

While information blocking was solidified as a legally defined term and compliance effort in the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016,[1] it wasn’t until the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program final rule that the industry received a framework on which to base compliance efforts.[2] Currently, compliance dates are April 5, 2021, for requests related to data elements in the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) version 1 and October 6, 2022, for all electronic health information (EHI).[3]

The information-blocking framework (IBF) may shift as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), which has enforcement authority over the IBF,[4] begins investigating cases and releasing its findings. OIG has not yet released its final rule on civil monetary penalties, which will dictate the enforcement date for information blocking. The enforcement date and compliance dates may be different.

Understanding the IBF is not completely settled; we present the top ten compliance concerns, in no particular order, for all actors (healthcare providers, health information technology developers, and health information networks/health information exchanges)[5] subject to the IBF.

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