Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put the final approval on two rules that will be transformative in the way that patients can access their health data.  This unprecedented approval will provide safe and secure access to that data via interoperability and information sharing.

These rules identify the most extensive healthcare data sharing policies the federal government has implemented thus far, putting the responsibility for secure data sharing on both public and private entities.  For patient confidentiality, that information must be kept secure and private.  This must be a top priority.

Individuals can manage all aspects of their lives, including travel, finances, and now healthcare in similar ways by utilizing modern technology and secure connections that allow access to health information.  This means that patients and customers can use tools like their smartphone and personal computers to shop for healthcare plans and coordinate personal healthcare action plans.

Insurance plans will now be required to share health data in a format that is accessed easily via personal devices, holding them to a higher standard of accessibility and patient privacy.  The hope is that this will result in improved quality of care and lower pricing.

This new direction for healthcare will not only make patient information more accessible, but it will also increase competition within the market, and give patients more choices in how they use their medical records, something they should have easy access to whenever they’d like.

Additionally, developers will be held accountable to participate in the ONC Health IT Certification Program as part of the requirements.

These important changes are a critical and necessary step forward in providing patients access to their data as well as a big move forward in keeping up with technological advancements.

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