The 21st Century Cures Act was enacted in 2020 to improve the accessibility and potability of Electronic Health Information (EHI). As the successor to the HITECH Act of 2009, the Cures Act aims to address the perceived lack of accessibility and portability of EHI by promoting improvements in access to EHI by both healthcare providers and software developers. The Cures Act contains provisions that prohibit “information blocking,” a term used throughout the statute to refer to any action taken by a healthcare provider that restricts access to EHI by patients or third-party software providers. The provision of the Cures Act prohibiting information blocking was originally set to go into effect on November 2, 2020. This deadline was extended in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on resources in the healthcare industry. Now, the deadline for initial compliance is April 5, 2021.
If that seems like a difficult deadline to meet, there is some good news: compliance with the Cures Act’s information blocking provisions includes a grace period for certain types of data. From April 5, 2021, through October 6, 2022, only the data elements represented in the USCDI standard are subject to compliance with the information blocking provisions of the Cures Act. After the grace period, additional categories of EHI will become subject to the Cures Act requirements.
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