As complaints roll in, ‘complexity’ holding up HHS information blocking enforcement, health IT coordinator says | Healthcare Dive

As complaints roll in, ‘complexity’ holding up HHS information blocking enforcement, health IT coordinator says

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has had a busy year supporting public health agencies during the COVID-19 response, working to improve health equity, improving electronic health record standards adoption and continuing to hammer away at information blocking regulations, as complaints against providers and health IT vendors roll in.

The ball on information blocking enforcement is already rolling, as the ONC receives hundreds of complaints, mostly from patients, accusing actors of blocking the free flow of health data. But the HHS has yet to finalize long-awaited penalties against providers and vendors found guilty of information blocking, which are some of the final hurdles in implementing the information blocking tenets of the 21st Century Cures Act, passed in 2016 to try to improve the free flow of health data in the U.S.

In an interview, ONC head Micky Tripathi shared his thoughts on information blocking complaints, provider worries about compliance and what’s holding up the HHS in delineating punishments for actors found obstructing data — a major gap in the enforcement of the rules.