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Health IT Now Sends Information Blocking Recommendations to ONC, HHS OIG

WASHINGTON, DC (August 29, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – led more than a dozen other health IT leaders in sending recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (HHS OIG) for eliminating the harmful practice of information blocking. 

Organizations co-signing the letter include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, AMIA, athenahealth, DirectTrust, Healthcare Leadership Council, IBM, ION Solutions, McKesson, National MS Society, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Oracle.  

A longtime vocal opponent of information blocking, Health IT Now hosted an Information Blocking Stakeholder Action Group summit on July 25th where attendees, including each of the co-signing organizations, formulated the recommendations included in today’s letter to identify and combat this practice. 

The coalition letter to ONC and HHS OIG warns that information blocking “does not just thwart federal and private efforts to more fully share clinical information, it may pose significant risk to patient safety” and calls upon the administration to issue a proposed rule clarifying the information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures law. 

The stakeholders recommend this proposed rule address common questions such as what is information blocking and what is not, what constitutes “special effort” in eliminating blocking and promoting interoperability, how ought “should have known” be defined, how should patient access be measured, and how does the law interact with existing laws like HIPAA and medical malpractice? 

Health IT Now and co-signing organizations conclude the letter by requesting a discussion session in September with ONC and HHS OIG “to discuss the questions and provide commentary in developing the proposed rule,” noting “This is a good way for various stakeholders to show our solidarity in ending this practice that is affecting the healthcare industry at large and placing patient lives at risk.” 

To read Health IT Now’s full coalition letter to ONC and HHS OIG, click HERE.

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that support incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

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