US HHS Introduces New Healthcare APIs

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized two rules aimed at delivering US patients better access to their own health data. One rule was issued by the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The other was issued by HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The ONC rule establishes new rules around "information blocking" practices that have historically plagued the free flow of data in the healthcare space. This ONC rule establishes a standards-based API, data classes and elements, and new business models of care that will allow patients to access their data from healthcare providers in the patients' apps of choice. For more information, visit the ONC rule.

The CMS rule focuses on data interoperability. To fulfill its goal, the CMS rule creates the Patient Access API. Through the API, patients will gain access to data through third-party apps, and that data will be complete (including everything needed to avoid redundant tests when switching to a new healthcare provider). For more information, visit the CMS rule.

These rules do not come into immediate effect. The ONC rule will undergo a two-year phase-in period. The CMS rule will be partially in effect as of January 1, 2021, To read more, and for links to specific details, visit the HHS announcement.

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