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5 Examples Help You Master Information Blocking Violations

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5 Examples Help You Master Information Blocking Violations

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Information blocking

If your practice isn’t familiar with the federal 21st Century Cures Act—also called the information blocking rule—then you could be at risk of violating this law. In essence, your practice must make electronic health information available to patients and others securely and swiftly, at no cost. Practices that prevent patient access may implicate the information blocking rule (IBR), and though not all implications are violations, you should correct any implications you find.

To stay compliant with the IBR, your practice should avoid interfering with it. Check these examples of potential information blocking interferences to stay on the right side of the law.

Example 1: Not Enabling Portal Transmissions

Suppose your practice implements a patient portal. If you have the option of allowing patients to directly transmit or request direct transmission of their electronic health information to a third party—but your practices chooses not to enable that capability—you are likely to be committing an interference with the IBR.

Example 2: Taking More Time to Respond Than Necessary

One tenet of the information blocking rule is that you must swiftly respond to patient requests for their electronic health information (EHI). If you have the capability to provide same-day access to patients’ EHI but you choose to instead take several days before responding, then you are likely to be interfering.

Example 3: Holding Back All Test Results

If your practice has a policy in place stating that you’ll delay the release of all lab results until the ordering provider has a chance to review them for potential risk of harm associated with the release, you may be committing an interference. Doing this on a case by case basis (for instance, a particular patient’s pregnancy or STD results) might be acceptable, but a blanket policy barring the release of test results is likely to interfere with the IBR.

Example 4: Configuring the EHR So Users Can’t Send EHI

When you first set up your EHR, you have the option of working with the vendor or developer to configure it. And in some cases, your particular configuration might be considered an interference. For instance, if you tell the developer to bar users from sending EHI to outside providers via the EHR, then you may be creating an interference to the IBR.

Likely Not an Interference: Sharing Risks With Patients

The above examples outline likely interferences with the IBR, but it’s also a good idea to understand what wouldn’t be considered an interference. For instance, if you educate patients about the privacy and security risks posed by third-party apps using information that’s accurate, unbiased, fair, and objective, you are not likely to be interfering. Sharing the potential risks they may face, while letting them still make their own decisions about EHI transmission, is not barred under the law.

Consult a Healthcare Attorney

If you’re ever curious about whether a particular practice or provision violates the information blocking rule, it’s a good idea to contact a healthcare attorney right away. They can evaluate your situation and let you know whether you’re compliant with the regulations.

Perfect your information blocking knowledge with key tips from healthcare attorney Melissa Soliz, JD. During her 90-minute training session, Avoid Info Blocking Violations & Fines for Patient Records Access, Melissa will help ensure that your practice avoids fines when it comes to patients seeking their records. Don’t wait – sign up now!


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