While the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) signed into law by President Obama in 2016 has as its main mission “to help accelerate medical product development and bring new innovations and advances to patients who need them faster and more efficiently,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to emphasize accelerating the flow of information between the healthcare provider and the patient.

“It’s all about the data,” said Steve Posnack, Executive Director for the Office of Technology at HHS during today’s CXO Tech Forum: Health IT Modernization event. Addressing the flow of information starts with the rules surrounding healthcare information regarding security and privacy.

HHS recently proposed a new rule to ease this flow of information, calling for seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. HHS says that the rules will not only help that information flow for patients, but also increase innovation and competition with new tools being developed and more choice in healthcare and treatment. Comments on this proposed rule are due May 3, 2019.

The hope for more competition is a new and exciting opportunity for HHS, Posnack explained, but doesn’t come without its own set of hurdles. Guidelines around price as it relates to data access will have to be considered, as will not blocking information on the basis of competitive reasoning.

“We want to make sure the information flow is where the patient needs it – in a secure way,” said Elise Sweeney Anthony, Executive Director for the Office of Policy at HHS.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.