ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule Compliance: Build vs. Buy

The American healthcare system has been primed and ready for improvement for decades now amidst a political landscape with polarized viewpoints about patient rights, coverage, and care options. Even so, policy has pressed forward to create a more patient-centered healthcare landscape. Namely, the ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule looks to put patients in charge of their health information and decision making—leaving EHR vendors and health plans of finding a way to stay compliant. What does this mandate mean, and what considerations do vendors and health plans need to make in order to build a FHIR API for patient access? The team at Iron Bridge is here to break it down for you.

Mandating a FHIR API for Patient Health Access

Understanding the Mission of the ONC Cures Act Final Rule

doctor reviewing records

In an effort to put patients in the driver seat of their own health, the 21st Century Cures Act is a 312-page healthcare policy that makes a number of changes to the healthcare system is designed to help accelerate medical product development and bring new innovations and advances to patients who need them faster and more efficiently.  Among these changes includes healthcare interoperability requirements that put the patient in the driver seat for their own continuum of care.The ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule mandates that EHR vendors and health plans make the necessary changes that allow patients easy access to their own health information. To do this, vendors will need to provide a consumer-facing FHIR  API that allows for access to patient health information in a standardized manner. . 

On the surface, this seems easy enough. However, slow adoption with FHIR standards for implementation have created challenges for interoperability and healthcare integration as a whole, leaving patients’ needs to have fallen by the wayside— that is, until the ONC Final Rule was released.

With this rule, vendors and health plans are expected to be fully compliant by 2021. However, the technical mechanisms involved in creating such an API are complex, leaving many companies to question whether they should build the API themselves or buy it from a trusted third party IT company.

A great option for EHR vendors and health plans is fhirstation: Iron Bridge’s turn-key SaaS solution to the ONC Cures Act Final Rule. Is it best for your company to choose this solution or build it yourself? We’re breaking that down next.

ONC Final Rule Compliance: Build vs. Buy Considerations

FHIR lego drawing

Time for Building a FHIR API for Patient Access

Time is a major consideration for EHR vendors and health plans in need of compliance. With less than a year remaining before the ONC Final Rule deadline, 40% of surveyed personnel cite that time constraints are the biggest obstacle for implementation.

Taking the time to build a fully-compatible FHIR API isn’t a walk in the park, especially for companies with an exhaustive list of ONC certification tasks to tackle in today’s highly-regulated healthcare industry. Implementation deadlines are seen as a major obstacle, but fhirstation is the turn-key SaaS product that can have EHR vendors and health plans compliant with the final rule in no time. Acting essentially as a plug-and-play solution, companies do not need to worry about the time and resource constraints for becoming compliant with the Cures Act.

Costs for Building FHIR API for Patient Access

There are a number of costs associated with building a FHIR API for patient access. Not only are there costs associated with the direct creation of the API, but long-term staffing for management of the solution and QA testing add up to create a hefty price tag on a build-it-yourself option. With more than 6% of surveyed industry respondents concerned about the cost of implementation, Iron Bridge ascertains that fhirstation is an equitable, cost-effective solution. With no need for staffing and QA, fhirstation is ready to provide access to patients without the added hassle of creating it yourself.

Implementation & Expertise for a FHIR API

Even well-versed industry leaders may have trouble understanding the exact requirements that are called for in the Cures Act Final Rule. More than 23% of industry respondents report that the lack of in-house expertise for compliance is a major obstacle, which is why outsourcing and buying a ready-to-use FHIR API is the best solution for most EHR vendors and health plans. With no additional expertise needed, fhirstation easily plugs into your EHR, payer system, or and HIT system for instant Final Rule compliance.

Want to learn more about why fhirstation is the solution to the ONC Cures Act Final Rule? Get in touch with the team at Iron Bridge today to learn more about our FHIR Standard API for patient access.

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