The 21st Century Cures Act was conceptualized by the US Congress to encourage healthcare data fluidity in the ecosystem. In addition, it was designed to ramp up the effectiveness of preventive care, healthcare software development, and clinical research. The Cures Act Final Rule released on May 1, 2020, introduced two important components that are destined to change Electronic Patient Health Information Transfer(ePHI) for the better.

The ‘Information Blocking’ and the ‘Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rules’ are the two subcomponents of the 2020 Cures Act Mandate, instated to reinforce the seamless exchange & use of ePHI. The rule outlines provisions that allow patients to access their Electronic Health Information (EHI) whenever and however they need.

The Technological Implications

Many reverberations of the Cures Act Final Rule affect HIT vendors and care providers and the associated deadlines with each one of them calls for both parties to notice. The most profound implications that await both the involved parties are shown below:

FHIR R4: The APIs to be exposed by provider and payer organizations to facilitate the seamless exchange of Electronic Patient Health Information ePHI must be FHIR V4 compliant.

USCDI Transition: USCDI will replace the Common Clinical Data Set that was previously required as part of several 2015 Edition health IT certification criteria.

SMART on FHIR Setup: Deployment of patient authorization mechanisms to access patient health information through mobile apps

Identity Assertion: As multiple patients/members attempt to access their information via these APIs, user identity assertion becomes a necessity.

The Bottom Line

The twin regulations aim to overcome long-standing challenges in interoperability to achieve seamless communication between care providers, patients, and payer organizations. Seasoned HIT developers are no strangers to the effort needed in this uphill task. Many will even label it a utopian concept in a heartbeat. But not everything is grey and grim under the hood. By leveraging the potential of the frameworks listed above to create an intricate HIT eco-system, the CMS’s vision for the future of interoperability may become a reality soon.

A synergized effort between multiple healthcare software development companies may be required to overcome the interoperability challenge. With a synergy of multiple competencies at their disposal, HIT developers must view healthcare interoperability solutions as a partnership, enabling them to enable care providers to find the ‘value’ in Value-Based Care (VBC), a mantra driving the CMS’s vision for the future.

Nalashaa’s experience with healthcare engineering services to achieve regulatory compliance can be a vital tool for healthcare IT development organizations to tackle interoperability challenges with the mix of the right skill set and expertise.

To know more about a partnership with us that can give you the competitive edge in 2021, reach out to our healthcare experts at [email protected]