What is the ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule?

No matter your political leaning, it’s clear to everyone that a number of faults exist within the American healthcare system. Constant turmoil around health insurance access and solutions, the cost of healthcare, and the cost of education for healthcare providers all lead to a system that has a tendency to lose focus on its core initiative: providing quality patient care.

Fortunately, governing bodies have been pushing for measures that help the healthcare industry return to its roots and provide the superior care that our healthcare system is capable of providing. Among them is the 21st Century Cures Act—and as a result, the ONC Cure’s Act Final Rule. How do these acts help shift focus back on the patient? Iron Bridge is here to Break it down.

What is the ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule?

Laws that Prioritize Patients in the Healthcare Industry

doctor sharing health record with patient

Over time, it’s been evident that the healthcare industry has lost touch with what’s most important: the patient. The 21st Century Cures Act, commonly known as the Cures Act, was signed into law on December 13, 2016, and is designed to put the patient at the center of the industry. This 312-page act includes initiatives designed to accelerate medical product development, innovate and advance the industry, and create a timeline for changes in health IT. Within the Cures Act is a $500 million authorization that spans over 9 years to cover the costs of implementation.

On March 9, 2020, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Cures Act Final Rule was released. The ONC Cures Act Final Rule implements interoperability requirements that were originally outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016 and is designed to put patients in charge of their health records. Not only does this make interoperability in healthcare a major priority, but it stresses the importance of making access to health information digitally-based to keep up with our increasingly-digitized world.

Why Do We Need the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule?

The Cures Act Final Rule Meets Patients Where they Are

hospital patient using smartphone

Our world is now saturated by technology. Phones, smart watches, and more are drivers of our daily lives and integral to our day-to-day tasks. The ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final rule is designed to make patient health information accessible in the most logical place—the technology that keeps us moving.

Not only is making health information digitally accessible the most convenient move for patients, but having easy access to information puts patients in the driver seat of their own healthcare. The Cures Act Final Rules puts information in patients’ hands for increased transparency on cost and outcomes. This knowledge promotes choice and competition for healthcare providers, aiding in the shift toward a value-based healthcare community.

Not only does the Final Rule benefit patients, but physicians and healthcare vendors alike. At its core, the Final Rule is a shift toward healthcare interoperability, allowing information to be readily available when it is needed most. This promotes a healthcare ecosystem in which we have better information, more control, and the transparency that has for so long been missing in the opaque schemes of the American healthcare system. No matter the road you take, the Cures Act FInal Rule leads to an enhanced patient experience and improved care.

Compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule

How Can Health Plans, Providers, and EHR Vendors Stay Compliant?

fhirstation by Iron Bridge

Interoperability is a long-standing initiative within healthcare that has been held back by a variety of implementation and integration issues. Luckily, the Cures Act Final Rule places provisions that create a standards-based API format for health IT companies. This allows them to establish an interoperable, secure solution that allows a patient to access their electronic health records.

Of course, this is easier said than done—even for providers with an in-house IT team. That’s why health IT companies like Iron Bridge have developed solutions that help health plans, providers, and EHR vendors become compliant with the 21st Century Cures Act quickly, efficiently, and for a fraction of the cost of a built-it-yourself option.

Iron Bridge’s solution for the Cures Act Final Rule is called fhirstation: the turn-key SaaS solution that is ready to be used now. This combines the US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) standards with a FHIR v4 API for a simple, secure flow of information to patients.

It’s time for an industry shift toward a patient-centered healthcare system led by the 21st Century Cures Act. To learn more about fhirstation and how it can help your health plan, practice, or EHR become compliant with the Final Rule, get in touch with the team at Iron Bridge today.

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