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April 10, 2020

New Interoperability Standards Will Impact the Practice of Radiology

On March 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized rules to increase patients’ access to their health data. The goal of the rules was to “give patients unprecedented, safe, secure access to their health data,” according to an HHS announcement.

“Interoperability has been pursued by multiple administrations and numerous laws, and today, these rules finally deliver on giving patients true access to their healthcare data to make informed healthcare decisions and better manage their care. Putting patients in charge of their health records is a key piece of giving patients more control in healthcare,” per the announcement.

Matthew Michela, president and CEO at Newton, Mass.-based Life Image, which provides access to points of care and curated clinical and imaging data to healthcare clients, says the new interoperability rules provide patients with better access to all types of health information—and he’s taking the long view. “Think out a decade. All the silos are gone, and people are going to have access to all sorts of data,” he tells AXIS Imaging News.

AXIS recently discussed with Michela the impact of the new interoperability rules on the practice of radiology. The conversation that follows has been lightly edited for clarity.

AXIS Imaging News: Tell me about the data that patients will have access to at the start.

Matthew Michela: It’ll start in the first wave, which is very defined data. For example, the patient wants to see the radiology report and they have the right to get that now.

AXIS: What’s next in terms of the data that patients will have access to?

Michela: I anticipate that the government will continue to increase those standards to eventually make all data visible—and the government will do so on a periodic, routine basis. Right now, that doesn’t impact radiologists at all. Radiologists will read exams, make their diagnosis, and determine their treatment plan. They will be doing exactly what they’re doing today, without any change. But the time will come when everything they’re documenting will get into the hands of consumers.

Today, it doesn’t get into the hands of consumers. The radiologist’s voice recording doesn’t. Their notes don’t. What’s documented very carefully in the report is available to consumers. But ultimately, everything a radiologist has done, how they did it, and the time they did it will be tracked, visible, and available.

Continue reading here.

Originally published by Aine Cryts, Axis Imaging News, April 10, 2020.