THe Cures Act & WHat It Means To YOU
The initial CURES Act Deadline of April 5, 2021 has passed but many Skilled Nursing Facilities are still working towards compliance. We’ve put together some quick thoughts and resources to help.
What is the CURES Act ?

The Act addresses many issues, but we’re going to look at how it relates to your Patients’ and Residents’ access to their Health Records. In order to make sure everyone receives the highest level of care, the CURES ACT makes “information blocking” illegal. It defines information blocking as a practice that interferes with or prevents access to electronic health information, that is, information about a patient's medical history or treatment. The patient-related requirements mandate that, upon request, you make EHR data available to your residents.

The detailed rules are much more complex and include exceptions, butthe goal is to finally make data both accessible to patients directly and more interoperable for sharing with providers and applications of the patient's choice.

Your primary initial consideration when addressing patient access is regulatory compliance. There are regulations from the Office of the National Coordinator (“ONC”), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS), and the Office of Inspector General (“OIG), all designed to ensure that you focus on their goal of accessibility and interoperability

Does The CURES Act Apply to You?

Generally, yes. By definition, it applies to health care providers, including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, home health entities, and other long-term care facilities and health care clinics. The exceptionsmay provide some relief, but if you do not fall into one of those exceptions, never fear. There is still time to quickly get compliant and even strengthen your business along the way.

Information Blocking Exceptions

How to Avoid Data Blocking

This is where the Electronic Health Record (EHR) you have chosen comes into play.  Some EHR’s have their own Patient Portal in which case all you need to do is make sure your Patients have access to their Portals and that you are allowing for the transfer of all the information they’ll need, such as Vaccinations, Medications, Conditions, Allergies, and more.

EHRs without a Patient Portal, such as PointClickCare, often use APIs (which is just a fancy way of saying that it allows other validated solutions to work seamlessly with PointClickCare) and provide a Marketplace of applications that may be able to meet your expanded needs. If your EHR doesn’t have a Patient Portal or a Marketplace, you still may want to start by viewing the PointClickCare Marketplace as a source for curated resources. If there are solutions of interest, just contact the vendors directly to see if they have an offering that fits your needs.  We would suggest that you take a look at HealthHive, but look around and see what best satisfies your needs. (Full Disclosure: we have a vested interest in HealthHive, but we, along with our highly loyal Hive family, think it’s a great solution.)

Tips for selecting a third party Patient Portal
  • Identify a shortlist of potential partners
    Visit the PCC Marketplace and look for the vendors that fit your needs. (e.g. do they provide ways for family members to login for free?)
  • Talk to their customers
    Find out what they do well, and things that may not work quite as well. (e.g. do they need to share all their record types or just the ones of use to the Patient?)
  • Understand the costs and implementation requirements.
    Will they be a financial and/or operational benefit, or burden? This should be a reasonable expense for your organization.
  • "Approve" a partner from your PointClickCare Dashboard and watch the magic happen.
    In the case of HealthHive, by clicking approve, data starts to flow from PointClickCare to your brand new Patient Hives. It is that easy.

What are the benefits of thinking more broadly about the Cures Act?

Take this as an opportunity to continue to build on your resident relationship while you bring more value to your partners. In addition to meeting the regulatory mandates related to data access, you can:

Have more questions?

Still have questions on the CURES Act?

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