As the world becomes more and more digital, certain protections are in place to make health information easier to access for every patient. Speaking on the subject of information blocking, Nicki Anderson, Chief Compliance Officer at Medsphere Systems Corporation, sat down with host Michelle Dawn Mooney to discuss what it is and how it happens.
“Thus, information blocking is essentially defined as any practice that may interfere with, prevent, materially discourage, or otherwise impede access to, sharing, or use of information health electronics, otherwise known as EHI,” Anderson said.
While there are several ways to block information, common examples include working with a health IT developer to intentionally restrict information from one form to another, using non-standard health IT, or if your health informatics developer has the ability to transmit certain information. through the portal, but a setting is configured to disable this feature.
The rule applies to many actors in the health sector. Anderson said, “Everyone in the healthcare landscape is subject to information blocking, whether or not you use certified technologies.”
Although there are a number of people affected by this, there are currently eight listed exceptions to the rule, including the Infeasibility Exception, Fee Exception, License Exception, Confidentiality Exceptions and safety and damage prevention exception.
These exceptions exist to protect under HIPAA. For example, under the harm prevention exception, sensitive information, especially in the case of a minor, cannot be shared with a relative. Anderson advised practices on the subject: “I recommend that you go and review them as you develop and revise your policies and procedures.”
Current penalties for rule violations are issued under the OIG as civil monetary penalties for health information networks and developers, but not vendors, although this is expected to change by end of the year.