HHS Announces Final Tech Rules for E-Healthcare Records

Last modified: January 22, 2021

The final technology rules for e-medical records in the US were set to be announced in a healthcare conference in Florida but was canceled due to coronavirus fears. Nonetheless, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Alex Azar, was able to get the message across on Monday. 

About ten years ago, the US government spent over $30 billion to help doctors and medical facilities switch to computerized records. Sadly, the technology didn’t fully solve the problems regarding personal health data inaccessibility and the seamless integration of different medical systems. 

The tech rules are meant to solve the above-mentioned problems in the healthcare industry. Hence, the government hopes that regulations would simplify the process of digitally transmitting medical records. However, it could take a couple of years for patients and doctors to feel the effects of such tech rules. 

According to experts, the regulations were too complex and the privacy of patients would be compromised, eventually — hence why some hospitals immediately objected. 

One of the HHS’s rules requires hospitals and other healthcare facilities to halt practices that could block the transfer of information digitally. Meaning, medical systems that don’t allow videos or screenshots to be shared would have to be modified. 

On a patient level, the tech rules could help in terms of addressing access problems. Hospitals and healthcare service providers are now required to allow data access via smartphones or apps. 

Overall, the final tech rules aim to expand data access and authorize the sharing of patients’ healthcare records. This should lead to fewer duplicative tests and medical errors, all the while making patients smarter consumers of health services.

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