Most healthcare organizations unprepared for federal info-blocking rules, new imaging survey finds

This short article, written by Matt O’Conner and published by Health Imaging, reports on disturbing survey results regarding the lack of preparedness for clinical information blocking rules, known as the 21st Century Cures Act. Freeland’s AccessPoint™ Connected Care Solutions integrate with EHR’s and patient portals and can help bring clinical imaging providers into compliance.

A majority of healthcare organizations are unprepared for federal information blocking and interoperability rules that went into effect on Monday, according to a new survey.

In fact, while 70% of respondents said they knew the regulations were fast approaching, nearly half reported using practices that directly violate these laws and are defined as information blocking by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Life Image, a medical evidence network for clinical and imaging data, queried nearly 4,000 provider, payer, IT, and other healthcare organization leaders in March for their findings, published Tuesday.

The Boston-based firm noted “general confusion” regarding rule requirements and what specific steps must be taken to avoid penalty under the ONC’s Final Rule of the 21st Century Cures Act.

And this is not the first instance of confusion related to these provisions. The American College of Radiology has fielded numerous questions from imaging providers about whether current radiology reporting practices will violate info-blocking mandates. But recent updates provided by the ONC have only muddied the situation, the ACR said.

The main concern is that reporting practice dictates providers wait a specified period of time before releasing health information to patients. It’s commonly done to coordinate care and discuss complex findings, among other reasons. Yet, HHS and the ONC have not offered a direct ruling on whether this violates new rules.

“Our recent survey validates what Life Image has been witnessing across the healthcare ecosystem in terms of interoperability readiness,” Matthew A. Michela, president and CEO of Life Image, said in a statement.

The medical imaging data company also found most healthcare groups aren’t using digital technologies to share info with patients, with 66% still relying on paper and 32% using CDs.

ONC said it will handle most cases involving information blocking on a case-by-case basis.

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