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Information Blocking Information Blocking
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Information Blocking
Flash Insights Report 2021

author - Coray Tate
Coray Tate
author - Paul Warburton
Paul Warburton
May 12, 2021 | Read Time: 4  minutes

The final rule from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) regarding the 21st Century Cures Act went into effect April 5, 2021, and includes new regulations regarding interoperability and information blocking. Just before the rule’s start date, KLAS reached out to provider organizations to understand what they have done to prepare, what the biggest challenges were, and how they think the changes will impact interoperability. Feedback from 42 respondents is explored below.

Majority of Respondents Feel Prepared, but Rule’s Vagueness Still Causing General Unease

A majority of respondents feel their organization has taken the steps necessary to become compliant with the new regulations; most of these organizations feel they have had sufficient time to prepare. Given their greater access to legal and IT resources, larger organizations are the most likely to feel prepared—91% of respondents from large organizations (>10 hospitals) say they are prepared or very prepared. Still, 12% of respondents do not feel ready, and an additional 17% aren’t certain one way or the other. This is due primarily to the rule’s vagueness, which is proving to be a bigger roadblock than actually implementing updated protocols and technology. Even respondents who feel prepared acknowledge that the lack of clarity could create unanticipated challenges downstream. Several respondents also say it has been difficult to get their HIT vendors to address rules in a timely fashion.

organization's level of preparedness for information blocking requirements most commonly cited reasons for reported level of preparedness most difficult aspect of ensuring compliance with information blocking requirements

Respondents Largely Confident Their EMRs Will Meet Technical Requirements

The most stringent information blocking requirements for EMRs don’t come into full force until August 2022, and a majority of respondents (including customers of all major EMR vendors) express confidence that their vendor will be in compliance. However, most vendors had at least one customer express doubt that their vendor will be ready—most commonly, these less confident customers worry that their vendor is taking too long to bring necessary functionality live. Several respondents report that they have had to develop workarounds in the meantime.

confidence in vendors compliance

To give perspective on how vendors generally perform when it comes to interoperability, the chart below shows integration ratings from KLAS’ standard software survey.

supports integration goals

Respondents Split Over Whether Information Blocking Rules Will Move Interoperability Forward

Though any technology solution housing patient information is required to be in compliance with the information blocking regulations, one of the main goals of these regulations is to make it easier for organizations to share EMR data specifically. However, even organizations that are confident in their own and in their EMR vendor’s preparation don’t necessarily feel confident the rules will reduce barriers to interoperability. Some who are uncertain say too many exceptions exist for the changes to be effective; others say the current requirements are too focused on reducing barriers to patient access and therefore won’t resolve technical barriers between vendors, which they see as the true hindrance to interoperability; yet others express concern about potential negative repercussions of patients having access to all provider notes. Those who think the changes will accelerate interoperability point to the fact that those who aren’t in compliance risk being fined. They also cite confidence that the technology will mature as vendors are required to share.

will interoperability blocking rules move interoperability forward

Services Firms Not Necessary for Most, but Many Respondents Turning to HIT Vendors for Additional Help

The large majority of respondents feel they have sufficient IT, clinical, and legal resources in-house to identify appropriate protocols for ensuring patients can access data. Of those who did mention using outside help, only one reported using an actual services firm (the others utilized support services from their EMR vendor or other HIT vendors). In fact, when respondents were asked what HIT vendors or solutions outside of their EMR played an important role in their preparation efforts, the most common response was that in order to get the right data where it needed to be, organizations replaced third-party solutions with additional modules from their enterprise EMR vendor. The next most commonly mentioned solutions are HIEs and other services that improve sharing with outside entities.

did organizations hire any additional help to prepare for information blocking rules

Respondent Demographics

survey respondents by job level by organization size emr in use
author - Natalie Jamison
Project Manager
Natalie Jamison
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.