Information blocking rules take effect

The interoperability rule is currently limited in what information cannot be blocked.

The information blocking rule enacted as part of the 21st Century Cures Act has officially taken effect.

According to a blog post from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the law defines information blocking and establishes penalties for those who interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information.

The ONC rule establishes new regulations to prevent health information blocking, or anti-competitive behaviors, by healthcare providers, developers of health information technology, health information exchanges, and health information networks, as previously reported.

The law requires physicians, healthcare IT developers, and health information networks/exchanges, except for those excluded by law or those with an established exception by Health and Human Services, to not block sharing a smaller subset of electronic health information presented in the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI Ver. 1) until Oct. 5, 2022. The initially limited scope will allow the regulated communities to more fully understand the regulation before the full scope takes effect, according to the blog post.

The blog notes that those who are able to share more electronic health information than is presented in the USCDI Ver. 1 should not wait before doing so. It also encourages the regulated community to make all electronic health information available as if the scope were not limited.

Submissions of information blocking complaints inform enforcement efforts; complaints can be submitted here. The ONC will release education materials and communicate about the information blocking regulations and will work with the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General on investigations and civil monetary penalties, the blog says.