March 12, 2020
Information Blocking: What to Know and How to Navigate the Next Steps
ONC and industry experts share details behind data blocking; penalties have not yet been set.
When the proposed interoperability rule was released last year by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), stakeholders had a lot of questions about what constitutes information blocking.
With the final rule, “Information blocking is more than just a nebulous condition of certification, it’s now a well-defined practice with penalties and exceptions,” says Nick Hatt, product designer and policy expert at Redox, a Madison, Wisconsin, technology company that offers an integration platform to securely and efficiently exchange healthcare data.
As the industry wades through the details of the 1,244-page document, here’s more information about this aspect of the rule.
Information blocking is anything that interferes with, prevents, or materially discourages access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI). While the concept was defined by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act, ONC was responsible for defining what doesn’t constitute data blocking.
Information blocking provisions are geared to certified electronic health record (EHR) developers, health information exchanges and networks—which were combined into a single definition—and providers, said ONC National Coordinator Don Rucker, MD, during a media briefing with reporters earlier this week.
While the rules will not be enforced for the first six months, those who engage in information blocking are subject to penalties. Interestingly, those consequences have not yet been established.
“We are still working on how those would be enforced and what the disincentives for providers would be,” said Rucker.
Originally published March 12, 2020, by Mandy Roth, Health Leaders.