HHS publishes rules on health data-sharing and interoperability

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it finalised a new set of rules to ensure safe and secure access to patient health data. As part of President Trump’s MyHealthEData initiative, the rules are set to implement interoperability and patient access provisions to give patients more control of their healthcare data. The regulation prevents health care providers, developers of health information technology products, and health information exchanges networks from engaging in information-blocking practices and anti-competitive behaviours. The rule also renews certification requirements for health IT developers and establishes new provisions to ensure that healthcare providers that use HHS certified health IT are capable of communicating about usability, user experience, interoperability, and security. Moreover, the final rule establishes the requirements of secure, standard-based application programming interface (API), which enables patients to securely and easily access their electronic health information on their provider’s medical record for free by using a smartphone app of their choice.