ONC releases new advice on blocking limitation compliance in advance of EHI expansion

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Compliance News

New advice has been published regarding blocking regulations within 21st Century Cures Act. The advice was published on the ONC website by the Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT, Steven Posnack, and offers eight statements of advice for individuals looking to optimize their blocking compliance.

The advice can be summarized as follows:

  • The information blocking limitations on the range of electronic health information will no longer be in place from early October. This will see organizations be responsible for a wider variety of data than before October 6th.
  • IB actors’ practices include acts and omissions, meaning violations may come from these actions.
  • The exceptions to the information blocking regulations consider the specific facts and circumstances of each case and are not “one size fits all” in nature. The exceptions are intended to take into account the fact that not all actors are in a position to be equally affected. For instance, the hospitals that take engage in the CMS Promoting Interoperability Program and some of the  laboratories or other healthcare entities that might not have adopted certified health IT.
  • Not all electronically stored health information conforms to the regulation definition of EHI. Additionally, the information blocking restrictions do not apply to such material if it is not EHI.
  • Depending on the IB actor’s identity, level of technological skill, and the party wishing to access, exchange, or use the IB actor’s EHI, different IB actors may make their EHI available in different ways that can and will evolve over time. IB actors can use patient portals, APIs, and various other platforms to make EHI accessible to view or use.
  • Information blocking is focused on primarily the data, or EHI, regardless of ONC-certified health IT being involved.
  • Requestors will receive unambiguous indication if their request to access, trade, or use EHI is delayed or rejected if actors use certain information blocking exceptions. These exceptions are The Licensing Exception, The Infeasibility Exception, and The Content and Manner Exception.
  • Claims of information blocking are private and categorically not permitted to be made public.

ONC advise individuals to provide feedback to allow further improvements for the ease of access of EHI. The organization offers monthly updates on blocking figures, available for viewing on their website.

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