Approximately 80% of the U.S. population and more than 90% of the nation’s physicians live in urban areas. These densely populated and interconnected centers can make people more vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks and other health crises. Interoperable health information technology is a critical and supportive way to combat this issue.
And, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the incredible impact having greater access to healthcare data means—not just to healthcare organizations but to the patients they serve.
“Delivering interoperability actually gives patients the ability to manage their healthcare the same way they manage their finances, travel, and every other component of their lives,” said Don Rucker, MD, former national coordinator for health information technology.
The 21st Century Cures Act Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule went into effect on January 1, 2021, and is scheduled to be enforced on July 1. Under the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access rules, healthcare organizations are required to share claims and other electronic health information with patients via application programming interface (API) technology, which gives patients access to their healthcare data right from their smartphones.
These new rules and regulations are going to make it easier for patients to access their information and the costs associated with the services they receive. Since July is right around the corner, it’s time to prepare for compliance with these new rules and regulations.
Here are the six steps you need to take to be prepared for interoperability in July.
1. Identify Data That Needs to Support Interoperability
The first step in complying with the new rules and regulations surrounding interoperability is to identify the data—along with the tools, applications, and systems—needed to support interoperability. Once you know where the data is coming from, it’s time to look for gaps in data collection that can be documented and remediated.
A healthcare data platform offers a complete view of your data, along with automated workflows and in-depth healthcare analytics. This technology delivers a connected view across the clinical delivery spectrum, so it’s much easier to identify data opportunities.
2. Consider Data Mapping
Data mapping helps healthcare organizations like yours identify all relevant data sources so that you are able to determine whether each source meets the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) standards.
Mapping data sources, fields, and formats will help facilitate discussions about how your healthcare organization might accept and manage external data and use it in patient records in the easiest and most efficient manner.
If you use a healthcare data platform that includes real-time data mapping, you increase the level of ease and efficiency even further. By managing and categorizing sensitive patient data from all of your sources in a singular location, you’re able to streamline the way you collect and connect data so you have the full picture of your data and how best to use it to improve business processes and the patient experience.
3. Make Patient Data Exchange Easy
One of the primary concerns with systems of the past is that they didn’t allow for the exchange of patient data in a quick and convenient manner. That’s why the ONC operability rule focuses on making patient data exchange more fluid for providers, patients, payers, and pretty much the whole healthcare network.
So it’s going to be up to healthcare institutions to make communication between vendors, consultants, and HIEs a top priority.
4. Implement ADT Notifications
ADT stands for admission, discharge, and transfer. Providers will soon be required to send a notification to a patient’s provider once the patient is admitted, discharged, or transferred from another healthcare facility. By embedding your own ADT notifications structure, you ensure you’re in compliance with new rules and regulations.
These types of alerts empower providers to proactively monitor their patients while they’re in their care, and ultimately, improve patient outcomes and care continuity, all the while reducing preventable readmissions. ADT notifications must be sent to providers in the following situations:
- Primary Care Practices (PCP)
- Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
- Physician Organizations (PO)
- Independent Physician Associations (IPA)
- Post-acute care service providers and suppliers:
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Home Health Agencies
- Quality Improvement
- Practitioners, identified by the patient as primarily responsible for his or her care
ADT notifications are required in the following events:
- Emergency department
- Observation admission/registration
- From outpatient to inpatient
- Unit Transfers are not required
All hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid must comply, as well as critical access hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals.
5. Patient Access API
To prepare for interoperability in July, one of the main requirements healthcare organizations must make is ensuring patients have access to their electronic health records via application programming interface (API) technology.
API technology gives patients access to their healthcare data right from their smartphones. Healthcare data sharing in this way is going to revolutionize data analytics at the organizational, individual, and governmental/agency levels.
6. Build a Strategy and Implementation Plan
Last, but certainly not least…build a strategy and implementation plan now so everything goes smoothly when the 21st Century Cures Act Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule is enforced in July. Come up with a strategy that takes into account all of the assessment outcomes.
Your plan should outline the steps you’ll take, the processes you’ll implement, and the technologies, skills, people, and funding necessary to get in compliance with the new data exchange rules.
This is a good time to determine what technology you need to succeed. That way you create a clear path moving forward that helps make healthcare data exchange easier and more convenient.
Preparing for interoperability in July might seem daunting. As long as you follow the above steps, you’ll be well-equipped to deal with the coming changes in a way that benefits the patient, the provider, and the payer.
SkyPoint Cloud’s healthcare data platform is a secure, CMS-compliant solution that gives providers and patients access and control over data. Reach out to our team and we’ll show you how to unify your data across the healthcare continuum.