September 8, 2021, 9:00 a.m. News Staff —The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced it will host a series of webinars designed to update physicians and other health care professionals on the finer points of recently implemented information-blocking regulations.
The Information Blocking Rule developed by CMS and ONC to implement a specific provision of the 21st Century Cures Act took effect in April, yet questions remain regarding just what that means for various stakeholders, including family physicians.
The first ONC webinar, scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT on Sept. 14, will focus on how the agency supports secure, appropriate sharing of electronic health information, as well as on how information sharing leads to more affordable and equitable care and boosts care quality.
The free webinar aims to answer questions such as the following:
The AAFP previously has sought further details about the rule and how it would be implemented, including via a Dec. 17, 2020, letter to (then) ONC National Coordinator Don Rucker, M.D., in which the Academy called on ONC to “streamline the requirements for physicians and provide more clarity through additional guidance on how to meet information-blocking exceptions and otherwise comply with these new requirements.”
And although the AAFP has praised the agency for acting to ensure that physicians are able to access all the health information they need to make the best care decisions in concert with their patients, as did Academy Board Chair Gary LeRoy, M.D., of Dayton, Ohio, in a March 11, 2020, statement about the Information Blocking Rule, information-sharing regulations must be implemented in a manner consistent with HHS’ overall strategy for a nationwide interoperable health care system.
“Part of the challenge in implementing the 21st Century Cures Act is to thread the needle between penalizing true information blockers while not adding complexity, uncertainty and burden upon practices who are not blocking information,” LeRoy noted in that statement.
Online registration for the webinar is open. Those who aren’t able to join the live event can still register to receive a link to access a recorded version of the presentation. The registration webpage also includes an option to sign up for ONC’s Tech Forum and weekly health IT news emails.