Stay on the Frontiers of Medicine.

Sign up for a free subscription to Proto.
mgh-logo
functionbar_help
Site Help
Font Size
Large Text
functionbar_contact
Contact Us
functionbar_aboutus
About Us
functionbar_legal
Archive
Search Results for “

Not finding what you're looking for? Articles from older issues of Proto can be found here.

Share
SEARCH RESULTS FOR “

Sorry, no results found.

Published On Feb 12, 2016

Policy

Defined: Information Blocking

When a company in the electronic health records industry interferes with its clients’ ability to access, exchange or use the data the company stores.

The upside of the migration to electronic health records (EHRs) seems clear: Data should be more standardized, and the searchable information it creates might yield important new discoveries. The reality so far has been less bright, and some of those who make EHR software and systems are partly to blame. A few companies have charged exorbitant fees to transfer an EHR to a hospital that uses a different software or system. Other systems, hospital officials say, make it difficult to make such EHR transfers at all.

While digital turf battles may be part of the 21st century landscape, the consequences of holding EHRs hostage in this way have drawn a federal response. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an agency created a decade ago, has moved aggressively to curb what it calls “information blocking” of EHRs. The ONC issued a report to Congress describing the problem, citing some egregious examples and describing steps the government and the private sector might take to head it off.

As a consequence, two federal bills introduced last year included provisions aimed at the problem. One prevents doctors, hospitals and health IT vendors from engaging in information blocking if they receive incentive payments for using EHRs. And the 21st Century Cures Act, passed by the House, would make information blocking a federal crime.

See More Actionlink-arrow
Share