06 Mar What Pediatric Practices Need to Know about Information Sharing and the 21st Century Cures Act
As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, it’s critical that pediatricians and pediatric practices have a robust system for managing and sharing important patient information. In this blog, we’ll discuss the essential technology tools you should be using to share information to be in compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act. We also provide best practice guidelines and a FREE workbook to help you develop your own information sharing policies.
Understanding the Implications of the 21st Century Cures Act
The 21st Century Cures Act is a federal law that contains a number of provisions that impact information sharing in healthcare. Title IV of the Cures Act is designed to advance interoperability by supporting the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information (EHI), and specifically addresses occurrences of information blocking. It also established eight information blocking exceptions.
At its core, the Cures Act requires that healthcare providers share information with patients and their families in a way that is easy to understand, while protecting the privacy of the patient. Healthcare entities are required to use a secure, HIPAA-compliant system to provide that information.
The Cures Act also mandates that healthcare providers implement policies and procedures for sharing patient information with other providers and health plans. Additionally, the law contains provisions that allow for the sharing of patient information for research purposes.
Choosing the Right EHR
The first step in establishing a compliant information sharing system is to choose the right EHR technology platform. There are a number of different options available, so it is important to select a tool that will meet the specific needs of your pediatric practice. To comply with the information sharing requirements mandated in the 21st Century Cures Act, select an ONC-certified EHR.
Even better – use a Pediatric Health IT Certified EHR like Office Practicum!
Why choose a pediatric health IT-certified EHR? Because pediatricians and their patients have unique needs a generic EHR doesn’t acknowledge or address. You need to consider features like teen privacy settings, automated school and camp forms, a comprehensive vaccine management system, and integrated Bright Futures templates that make well visits easier to manage. Using an EHR with pediatric-specific tools and workflows will help decrease your administrative burden and documentation time, allowing you to spend more time on patient care, and less time doing everyday tasks manually. It may even free up your time to catch your child’s hockey game or get home in time to have dinner with your family.
Once you have selected a platform, you’ll need to train your staff on how to use it effectively. Proper training on the nuances and features of an EHR can save valuable documentation time and administrative resources that can be allocated to other tasks in your pediatric practice.
Best Practices for Sharing Information: The Patient Portal
In addition to choosing the right EHR technology platform, there are a number of best practices that you can implement to ensure that your information sharing system is effective. For example, you should develop clear policies and procedures for how patient information is shared, so you meet the requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act and its provision for information sharing.
The most effective way to do this is by using a patient portal. A secure, HIPAA-compliant portal connects parents and patients with your practice without missing a beat. From flexible scheduling options to empowering parents or guardians to access their child’s health information, your patient portal will quickly become a reliable member of your practice team. Providing records requests with just a couple of clicks from a patient’s chart saves your practice time and money and keeps your pediatric practice compliant with the Cures Act requirements.
You should also establish a system for tracking and auditing information sharing activity. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your pediatric practice has a robust and effective information sharing policy in place.
While the 21st Century Cures Act requires that healthcare providers share information with patients and their families in a way that is consistent with the law, it is important to remember that not all data is created equal. Some types of data, such as medical records, are subject to strict confidentiality laws. It is important to only share this type of data with those who have a legitimate need to know, and use a secure system to share it with your patients and their families.
As a pediatrician, you may need to obtain patient consent before sharing certain types of information. Teen privacy settings need to be in place and used correctly to keep confidential conversations and test results private. In some cases, you may also need to de-identify data before sharing it. By considering the ethical implications of information sharing, you can ensure that your pediatric practice is sharing data in a way that is respectful of your patients’ privacy and confidentiality rights.
Download your Free Workbook
The 21st Century Cures Act is a complex law, and it’s important for pediatric practices to be aware of the implications of the law as it pertains to information sharing. By understanding the requirements of the law, you can ensure that your pediatric practice is in compliance with the Cures Act and that your patients’ confidential information is protected.
We make it easy for you to be in compliance with information sharing. Download your FREE copy of our exclusive Information Sharing Workbook– an interactive and printable five-part guide to creating an Information Sharing Policy for your pediatric practice. Complete with practical examples of Information Blocking Exceptions, you’ll have everything you need to develop a policy that’s organized and promotes ongoing compliance. It’s another tool in your toolbox to support your pediatric practice’s success!
As the first ONC-certified pediatric-specialty EHR, OP understands how important an EHR can be for streamlining operations, identifying efficiencies, and freeing up valuable staff time in your pediatric practice. Our pediatric-specialty EHR and Revenue Cycle Management solutions offer features designed to help keep your practice’s financial and clinical operations running smoothly, so you can focus on what you do best – taking care of your patients. Contact us today to learn how Office Practicum can help your pediatric practice operate at its best.