Most of us are now aware that the ONC’s Interoperability and Information Blocking provision went into effect on April 5th, 2021. To summarize, the rule is designed to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information. We’ve been getting many questions lately about this.
Here are some of the top questions we are being asked about this law….plus a little on what the law actually says, you know, for good measure.
Who is affected by the Cures Act?
The Cures Act is a U.S. law so it’s only clinics in the United States who are affected.
Did Jane have to build something new to comply with this Act?
No. In fact, Jane has always believed that you should not have your data held hostage. We didn’t have to build or change anything to be compliant. We already allowed for easy access, sharing, and exporting of patient data.
Is Jane Compliant with the Cures Act?
Yes, Jane is fully compliant with the Cures Act. This means that you are able to easily export data from your patient’s charts so your patient or client can have it or so that this same data could be used by another health system.
Keep reading for more details.
What is the Cures Act?
The Cures Act is a new law that aims to make health care more transparent for patients. Most relevant to clinics using Jane, it contains provisions prohibiting “information blocking” and requires EHR systems to allow for easy interface among different health systems, also known as interoperability.
I understand the basic concept, but I’m still not super clear on exactly what the law requires, can you tell me more?
There was a big push to move to electronic health records over the last decade, but not a lot of focus on how those health records would work in a larger healthcare ecosystem. How would patients get access to their records? Or how would they share them with their other care providers?
The Cures Act is intended to address these needs. It is intended to ensure that healthcare data is not just recorded, but accessible and exportable.
We see this all the time when we try to import healthcare records into Jane. Many electronic records providers do not have a simple or complete way to easily export practitioner’s charts.
The final rule really is directed at software companies and is designed to make sure you as practitioners have a way to easily share information with your patients/clients using technology. The great thing is that Jane has always allowed this. :)
Learn more: https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/
What is Information Blocking?
Information Blocking refers to if a patient requests their healthcare data, and you can share it but do not, which is an unfair practice that blocks important data from patients, or places unreasonable obstacles to their data. Information blocking is not allowed under the Cures Act’s provision.
How does the Cures Act affect me and my patients?
There are two elements of the rule that we see affecting Jane’s customers:
- Patient access to charts
- Easy export of clinic information to use with another EHR
Is Jane equipped to deal with 1) providing patients access to charts and 2) exporting EHR to use in another system?
Yep! Fully. Below we will describe how you can share individual charts with a patient and how you can export charts as a batch to use in another system if you choose to do so.
How do I provide patients access to their charts upon request?
The rule mandates that patients can electronically access their electronic health information at no cost. Jane allows you to do this in two ways:
- You can share an individual chart entry with a patient through their patient portal:
- You can create a PDF of all patient records and either upload this as a chart entry to share or deliver it via another channel to the patient.
Will Jane charge me to send health records to patients or to batch export my records for use in another system?
No. Jane will not charge you for these services. Check with your regulating body to determine if you, as a practitioner, are allowed to charge a reasonable fee for work done to access and share records.
I understand that patients can currently create accounts for booking, but are they also able to see their chart in the same account, under the same login?
When a patient creates an account with your clinic to book an appointment online, that is their patient portal for all services received at your clinic. Each time they login to their account, they are able to complete several actions, which include looking at booked appointments AND viewing any records/charts you have shared with them.
It’s important to understand that patients don’t have unmonitored, full access to every chart entry about them. You have to share them intentionally.
You can read more about the patient portal here: My Account - Your Patient/Client Portal.
Does this give patients access to their EHR immediately?
The answer is actually no. Patients do not have access to their entire electronic health record immediately once you create it during your charting process.
Only chart entries that you share with them intentionally on the admin side will populate in the patient portal, but once you share those entries they do appear in real-time.
So once you share a health record or chart with a patient, yes, they see it immediately. But you have to share it with them first.
Is the transfer of data from the practitioner’s charting area to the patient portal secure?
Yes. The data never leaves Jane’s secure servers when moving from a practitioner’s charting area to a patient’s portal. There is no need to email health records to patients and clients.
Another part of this security is that patients DO NOT have unmonitored full access to every chart entry about them. You have to share them intentionally.
You can read more about the security of Jane’s system here: Security FAQ.
Does Jane allow me to easily export clinic information to use with another EHR?
Yes, if you need to transfer to a new EHR system Jane offers a one-time export. This is not intended for regular exporting of your data. We do regular, secure backups of your data for you already.
The export will be in an industry-standard format. Specifically, all patient demographics and appointment data may be exported as Excel or CSV files at any time. In a one-time export, Jane can bulk export charts as PDF upon request, along with a spreadsheet of metadata about those charts (i.e., who signed the chart, when it was signed, etc). There is absolutely no cost associated with any export of data from Jane.
OK, we hope that was helpful. Let us know if you have any specific questions at [email protected]
The Jane Team