The Cures Act: What Information Blocking Means for Chiropractic Practices
- The information blocking (aka open notes) rule of the Cures Act dictates that clinical notes created must be made available to patient without delay.
- If a provider reasonably believes that the request intends to harm a patient, invade their privacy, or compromise their data, they do not have to provide any information.
- Cloud-based ChiroTouch helps you easily meet the Cures Act open notes requirements to ensure information-blocking compliance.
Patients and providers have more access to information through their EHRs under the Cures Act. The law protects patients’ electronic health information (EHI) while allowing them to request access without any healthcare provider, developer, or information exchange impeding access.
As a chiropractor, it is imperative to stay up to date on the latest guidelines and protocols so you can continue providing top quality care with confidence. Avoid potential issues by understanding information blocking regulations: knowledge is key for avoiding any accusations!
What Is Information Blocking?
IThe healthcare industry is undergoing an important shift towards patient-centric care, but efforts to block access to and the exchange of medical information can stand in its way. Information blocking threatens both patients’ control over their own data and our collective mission for a more efficient system that puts people first!
Healthcare providers and health IT developers alike have an important responsibility to ensure that timely access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI) is not hindered by unreasonable actions. Knowing this duty exists puts every stakeholder in a position to make sure EHI remains readily available for the benefit of everyone involved.
Providers can hit roadblocks when trying to access important patient information from other sources. Obtaining records, connecting EHRs and moving patient data between systems are all areas where complications may arise – but with the right solutions in place a smooth flow of valuable health information is possible!
Protecting information shouldn’t be a barrier – but there are specific instances where it can become one. It’s important to know what actions constitute ‘information blocking’ so that you can ensure your data-sharing practices remain ethical and compliant.
The following actions constitute information blocking:
- Practices that restrict authorized access, exchange, or use under state or federal laws.
- Non-uniform technical standards that might increase the complexity or burden of accessing, exchanging, or using EHI.
- Limitations in interoperability in health IT, such as disabling features for sharing EHI.
- Technical efforts that prevent the exchange or use of EHI, like charging excessive fees or delaying the switch from one EHR to another.
- Actions that facilitate fraud, waste, or abuse of a patient’s EHI.
- Restrictive contracts, license agreements, sharing policies, organizational policies or procedures limiting access, exchange, and use of the patients’ EHI.
What Are the Information Blocking Exceptions?
Providers are dedicated to protecting their patients’ information and strive to ensure privacy and security. The Information Blocking Final Rule enables practitioners to maintain these standards while still providing access when appropriate.
Providers may not fulfill specific requests or deny access to patient records under the Information Blocking Final Rule exceptions. Exceptions address activities that are reasonable and necessary for practitioners to maintain the privacy and security of their patients’ information and won’t violate the information blocking law.
The rule defines the two categories of exceptions to information blocking:
- Requests that do not involve EHI access, such as those that may harm another patient, invade a patient’s privacy, or endanger the security of the patient’s data.
- Procedures for accessing, exchanging, or using EHI, including limiting content, charging for fees, and licensing interoperability elements.
These exceptions are subject to specific conditions. For example, providers must meet certain conditions for an exception to prevent harm to another patient or individual. Providers must have a reasonable belief that their action will reduce the risk of harm, know the type and implementation of the risk, and fulfill the criteria for a patient to ask for a risk assessment.
Information Rule Blocking Summary
The information blocking regulations do not only apply to providers using certified EHRs under the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Health IT Certification Program. They also apply to non-certified EHRS.
Whether or not your clinic uses a non-certified EHR, chiropractors must ensure they can provide their patients’ EHI. You must also share the EHI securely with other providers and patients in a fully automated way.
Upon receiving an EHI request, you must follow these steps to make your practice comply with the information blocking law:
- Under the Cures Act, the practice can request specific patient data from their EHR.
- The EHR provides the practice with structured data to communicate with patients.
- A practice must address the response promptly, which may take an average of 60 days for fulfillment.
- Both parties must decide on a common format, such as the CSV format. The practice can drop the request if parties cannot agree on a format.
- The data transfer must be secure when exchanging data from the EHR to the practice. The practice must also protect the patient’s data during transmission.
- The data must meet the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) standards. Providers must provide an alternative form of EHI if they cannot provide it in the requested format due to technological constraints.
- If your practice completes the EHI request in an alternative format, the request must satisfy the fees exception, such as charging fees to release it.
How ChiroTouch Helps You Meet The Cures Act Requirements
The ChiroTouch platform features advanced encryption and authentication measures to ensure your patients’ EHI is always secure under the information blocking law and minimizes the burden of downloading antivirus software on all your devices.
- ChiroTouch upholds the strictest security and privacy measures to ensure that your data is safe and protected.
- Our system is compliant with all state and federal laws, so you can rest assured that you are following regulations.
- We have a wide variety of interoperability options to make exchanging data as easy as possible for you.
- Our system is designed to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, so you can feel confident that your patient’s data is in good hands.
Secure Encryption and Security Methods
ChiroTouch encrypts all your health information within the system, including any data sent from another provider using the same software.
You can take further security measures by setting up user permissions for your members to add or edit patient notes, see the claims history, and view reports. Only authorized users can access sensitive information using these methods, securing the privacy of your patient data.
Enhance Efficiency to Find Information Quickly
ChiroTouch integrates cloud capabilities to help you find and share documents quickly. Authorized users can seamlessly access the data throughout your practice.
The cloud-based software also streamlines billing, insurance claims, and payment processing.
You can see all the data you need with the ChiroTouch dashboard. Practices can easily use and share patient data with staff and providers on the dashboard, including demographics, SOAP notes, images, and treatment histories.
ChiroTouch’s automated syncing and customizable macros allow you to create SOAP notes in 15 seconds. The feature eliminates the need to take notes manually and ensures you comply with the Cures Act requirement to offer accessible EHI to patients.
ChiroTouch Helps Your Practice Fulfill Patient Data Requests
Cloud-based ChiroTouch takes the burden away from the practice to fulfill patient data requests that meet the requirements of Information Blocking under the Cures Act.
Customers simply reach out to our Customer Success team, and we will export that patient’s data in a CSV format and pass it to the practice in a manner that is both encrypted and secure. The practice can send that data to the patient, another provider, or any other designee on the patient’s behalf. It’s that easy!
Stay Compliant with Information Rule Blocking by Switching to ChiroTouch
ChiroTouch’s cloud-based software increases your practice’s efficiency while maintaining your responsibility as a healthcare provider to prevent information blocking. We offer a secure platform with powerful features that enable your practice to safely share and exchange data with providers and patients.
Contact us to discover how ChiroTouch can help your practice remain compliant with information blocking laws while boosting patient satisfaction.