The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized two rules that would help give healthcare patients more control over their health data.

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the two rules that will “implement interoperability and patient access provisions of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) and support President Trump’s MyHealthEData initiative.”

“In today’s digital age, our health system’s data sharing capacity shouldn’t be mired in the stone age. Unfortunately, data silos continue to fragment care, burden patients, and providers, and drive up costs through repeat tests,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. “Patients can expect improved quality and better outcomes at a lower cost.”

The final rules will help address interoperability and information blocking by healthcare providers, developers of certified health IT, health information exchanges, and health information networks required by the Cures Act.

Additionally, it will establish “secure, standards-based application programming interface (API) requirements to support a patient’s access and control of their electronic health information.” This will allow patients to securely obtain and use their healthcare information from their provider’s medical record for free using their smartphones.

“These rules are the start of a new chapter in how patients experience American healthcare, opening up countless new opportunities for them to improve their own health, find the providers that meet their needs, and drive quality through greater coordination,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.