• The Star Staff

Health info access rule to go into effect in January

By The Star Staff

The federal Interoperability and Patient Access rule, which will allow patients to have access to their health information when they need it most and can best use it, is slated to go into effect in January, Dolmarie Méndez, chief executive officer and co-founder of Abartys Health, said Thursday.

The bottom line of the federal regulation, put forward by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is to provide for more individualized care for a patient because currently the information is not in a specific place that patients can access through computers or cellphones, she said.

Abartys Health has a platform specifically designed to improve patient access issues in accordance with the new CMS policy and provide a platform for patients to keep their health data, Méndez said.

“This impacts the patient positively because these are regulations on information that allow patients to exchange their clinical data with whomever they decide, or add information to it,” she said, adding that the regulation also will help medical providers and health insurance companies.

“Nowadays, health insurance companies have information on the patients but each health insurance company operates differently and there is no centralized database,” Méndez said. “This empowers the patient.”

Méndez said the new rule will be another tool in the fight against the coronavirus because it will allow for better contact tracing and help identify infection focal points.

As part of the Trump administration’s MyHealthEData initiative, this final rule is focused on driving interoperability and patient access to health information by liberating patient data using CMS authority to regulate Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Qualified Health Plan issuers on the federally facilitated exchanges, but Méndez said the initiative will spread to other sectors.

According to CMS, the lack of seamless data exchange in healthcare has historically detracted from patient care, leading to poor health outcomes and higher costs.

“The CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule establishes policies that break down barriers in the nation’s health system to enable better patient access to their health information, improve interoperability and unleash innovation, while reducing burden on payers and providers,” CMS said. “Patients and their healthcare providers will have the opportunity to be more informed, which can lead to better care and improved patient outcomes, while at the same time reducing burden.”

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