OCHIN encourages ONC to consider safety net patients and providers in Information Blocking Rule

PORTLAND, Ore., May 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — OCHIN sees potential improvement in patient engagement and treatment outcomes through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)’s 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability and Information Blocking Rule. However, the nonprofit health care innovation center encourages the ONC to slow the implementation of this rule until they are able to address the challenges that arise for safety net providers and patients.


OCHIN, who provides health information technology solutions to providers serving some of the nation’s most vulnerable, was built on the power of seamless data flow between providers and to patients for improved patient care. OCHIN is a leader in moving complex data, exchanging over 30 million records in the last 12 months.

The current HIPAA-regulated system protects the security and privacy of patient data. ONC’s proposed rule does not apply the necessary regulatory framework to all players in health information exchange, elevating the risk of unethical use of individuals’ personal health information. We encourage the ONC to consider safeguards to protect the privacy and security of patient information as it is released into an unregulated environment, and liability protections for providers serving their patients.

Similarly, in an era with increasing pressure on primary care providers, OCHIN is concerned that the resulting legal liabilities and risk undermine the benefits of sharing protected health information with unregulated app developers. Safeguards and safe harbors are necessary for providers—but currently absent from the proposed rule. Without these protections, the downstream effects of this rule will disproportionally impact small providers in communities nationwide.

“We fear privacy could become a luxury, and health information a currency. We urge ONC to slow down and fully evaluate the implications of this new Rule,” said Jennifer Stoll, EVP of Government Relations and Public Affairs at OCHIN. “Without protections for patient data, the transfer of HIPAA-regulated health information to non-HIPAA-regulated entities could result in widespread patient privacy violations.”


Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit OCHIN is one of the largest and most successful health information and innovation networks, serving over 500 organizations comprised of more than 10,000 clinicians across the nation with solutions that improve the integration and delivery of health care services. Learn more at www.ochin.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Stoll, 503.943.5787, [email protected]


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