Patient data needs to be free and aggregated in a single location, when needed, but that is nearly impossible in today’s siloed healthcare environment where information blocking is rampant. Often times electronic health record (EHR) system A doesn’t speak with radiology software B. Many transitions of care are still transmitted by fax. Mounds of paper documents are piling up. And legacy software systems don’t interact with current technology, leaving large gaps in a patient’s health record.
Giving patients unfettered access to their healthcare information is the impetus behind two federal efforts, the 21stCentury Cures Act and the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule (CMS-9115-F). Together, they are designed to enable the healthcare data ecosystem through application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow patients convenient access to their records through smartphone apps and other electronic methods.