Well, it is finally here.
The 21st Century Cures Act has an Information Blocking Rule that goes into effect as of April 5, 2021. It was originally supposed to launch in November of 2020, but the federal government told us “JUST KIDDING” 3 days before and delayed until 4/5.
Because we laid all the groundwork and also felt it to be the RIGHT THING FOR PATIENTS, we went ahead and launched our changes in November, and SURPRISE: I still have a job, wasn’t fired. Thanks to our MMOLC sharing community.
A brief reminder
The rule stipulates that patients should be able to receive a copy of
- Test Results (laboratory, pathology, radiology) and
- Their Provider’s (physicians and advanced practice providers) Progress Notes
upon request. The interpretation was that if a patient had a Patient Portal account in the EHR (electronic health record) of the clinic or health system, this meant immediate release of this information. This is a major change for many health systems who had not yet adopted Open Notes (release of progress notes) or delayed the release of test results by several days.
Since our adoption of Immediate Release
of Progress Notes and Test Results since November of 2020, I have had exactly 2 complaints reach my desk, both from oncologists representing unhappy patients who read their CT imaging study on Friday evening and had difficulty reaching their doc until Monday. This is in the setting of about 1 million clinic visits, 800,000 radiology studies, 30,000 hospital stays, millions of lab and pathology results in these last 4 months.
So, not perfect, but not nearly the “sky is falling” result, as anticipated by many colleagues.
In case you’re still working through this, here are some documents (some updated) that we used. Some are actually named Information SHARING instead of BLOCKING, just a more hopeful attitude. I hope these might help you. Images here, links to full PDFs further down.
- Information Blocking Exec Overview. 1 page summary, total 6 pages. (Oct ’20) https://www.dropbox.com/s/7cciss1lr0n5ypb/2020-1016%20Info%20Blocking%20Immediate%20Release%20White%20Paper.pdf?dl=0
- Information Blocking Exceptions at UCHealth. 1 page. (updated 3/14/2021) https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hcerlh5wo6qfwn/2021-0314%20Info%20Sharing%20Exceptions.pdf?dl=0
- Information Sharing: How to Write an Open Note. 1 page. (Oct 2020) https://www.dropbox.com/s/bycq9wvfoimj4lk/2020-1020HowToWriteAnOpenNote-UCHealth.pdf?dl=0
- Information Sharing: For Patients Getting a Test at UCHealth. 1 page. (Oct ’20) https://www.dropbox.com/s/yccy0yyywghfgkj/2020-1026%20For%20Patients%20Getting%20a%20Test%20at%20UCHealth.pdf?dl=0
Even better, our colleagues at OpenNotes.org are doing some terrific office hours with experts online where you can hear the real-life experience of leaders ALREADY doing this work in various fields, successfully.
CMIO’s take? Are you ready? Do you have documents YOU can share? Lets do this!