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Not Sharing Data Will Cost Healthcare Providers

The federal government is cracking down financially on healthcare providers who don’t comply with sharing data with patients, VentureBeat reported.

The Affordable Care Act already gives patients the right to their own heath data, but not much enforcement has been provided by the government, at least until now. Most recently, the Office of Civil Rights under the Department of Health and Human Services is now levying fines for providers who don’t have a method for patient data-sharing set up.

"The HHS is issuing fines of $20,000 a day on average if they don’t give patients their data,”Former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra said at VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference on Oct. 27. Chopra spoke about progress the government has made in providing better access between patients and their health care providers. “The government wants health providers to use a “Public API” to share a patient’s health data with them — and avoid the fines,” according to VentureBeat.

“Many in digital health circles believe that the system might work better if consumers controlled access to their own health data. Providers typically must set up a patient portal where users can log in and access at least a subset of the patient record. The initiative is known as “Blue Button,” which signifies the button on many health provider sites leading to personal health data portal,” VentureBeat reported.

The Blue Button initiative was commissioned by The Office of Civil Rights, the office tasked with enforcing the health care mandate, but the office doesn’t have enough staff to enforce it on a national scale. The HIPAA privacy law, however, has helped bring attention to a “few errant providers” and has encouraged others to apply, VentureBeat reported.

“We’re at the two-yard line,” Chopra told the crowd at the HealthBeat conference. “The government’s goal, of course, is still 98 yards away.”

Among topics reported in the HealthBeat conference was who should be in charge of digital medical records. This included comments from Dr. Peter Tippett, who leads Verizon Healthcare and its digital health accelerator, and said patients — not doctors or healthcare providers — should be in charge of medical digital records. He also spoke about how information technology could be used to brining down the costs of healthcare.

It’s the patients who are going to drive the innovation,” he said at the HeathBeat conference. “It’s not the doctors or the insurance companies."

 

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