Understanding the Cures Act

The future of electronic health care Back to Top

The 21st century has been rapidly embracing technology and its many uses to improve our lives, expand our ability to connect with others, and access information about the world around us. This also includes the growth and advancement of healthcare systems and practices. Office Ally has continued to develop and evolve the capabilities of its software by following certification standards for EHRs over the years. Our current goal is to participate in the Cures Act movement that focusses on interoperability between other health IT software and improving patients' access to their health records electronically.

What is the 21st Century Cures Act? Back to Top

See the ONC's website about the Cures Act final rule.

Cures Act focuses on improving health care technology and accessibility in 3 areas:

EHR Software Development

  • Establishes the API Conditions of Certifications to address the use of APIs for health care purposes.
  • Establishes data structure standards to promote interoperability between EHR systems.
  • Establishes a time line for annual communications for testing and software development.

Medical Standards for Care

  • Gives providers the tools they need to respond to requests for data easily. It will also increase the options for affordable Health IT products.
  • Ensures that certified APIs are made available in a way that is safe, secure, and affordable.
  • Defines the practices that are considered reasonable and necessary activities that would not constitute information blocking.

Patient Access

  • Makes accessing Protected Health Information (PHI) electronically easier.
  • Protect Patient's Privacy and Security of their electronic medical records.
  • Increase the availability of data that can support insights about care quality and costs.

What are the requirements for Information Blocking?Back to Top

“Information blocking means a practice that is likely to interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage access, exchange, or use of electronic health information..." - [American Medical Association]

Fact Sheets for Information Blocking have been provided by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology:

ONC has made an FAQ available to clarify requirements for Information Blocking: https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/resources/information-blocking-faqs

How does Cures Act affect me?Back to Top

As Office Ally begins the process of certifying EHR 24/7 to the technological requirements specified by Cures Act, providers and medical care staff will need to perform the following:

  • When performing a clinical visit or a virtual visit, ensure that progress notes are created for that interaction with the patient.
  • When a progress note, medical test, or lab has been reviewed and completed by the provider or staff, it will need to be made available to the patient electronically upon request.

How to send electronic health records using EHR 24/7 Back to Top

Currently, Office Ally has the capability to support the creation of progress notes for each encounter between a provider and patient. These progress notes can be made available to patients in three ways:

  1. Progress notes can be exported as clinical summaries and sent by the provider to the patient via email.
  2. EHR 24/7 can use the Patient Ally service that allows patients access to their medical records. Patient Ally is a free tool that can be accessed and set up in Manage Office to the provider’s preferences. Here is a link to learn more about this service: https://cms.officeally.com/Pages/Products/PatientAlly.aspx
  3. Our EHR has the capability to provide patients medical information via our Application Programming Interface (API) that is compliant with Cures Act requirements to support the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) data classes and elements that make up electronic health information. For more information, please refer to this document: https://cms.officeally.com/OfficeAlly/Forms/API-Patient-Data-Request-2021.pdf

In order to provide patients their electronic medical/health information, EHR 24/7 users need to perform the following steps

Using EHR 24/7 to provide patients with their health information electronically:

  1. Log into EHR 24/7
  2. Go to Manage Office
  3. Click Patient Ally Settings
  4. Click Edit on right
  5. Click "Yes, I would like to join Patient Ally."
  6. Check off "Allow Patients to view their clinical summaries from me."
  7. From view Progress Note
  8. Hover over view/print
  9. Click Patient Clinical Summary (MU) (this will trigger the EHR to send the clinical summary to Patient Ally where the patient can view/download/transmit it)

For providers who do not use Patient Ally, they can still export the clinical summary and send it to the patient from EHR 24/7:

  1. Log into EHR 24/7
  2. Click on the Patient Charts tab
  3. Open the chart of the patient
  4. Hover over Progress Note
  5. Click on View Progress Note/Encounter
  6. Select the desired Progress Note and hover over View/Print
  7. Click on Patient Clinical Summary (MU)
  8. When the window opens with the summary click Export
  9. You will need to create a password for the document
  10. This will generate a password protected zip file with the Clinical Summary
  11. The document can be provided to the patient via their preferred method with the secure password

API Access can be provided to the Patient:

  1. Provide the patient with API Documentation upon request
  2. Patient to follow instruction in API Patient Data request document

Where to find Office Ally Certification InformationBack to Top

If you want to review Office Ally's certification for 2015 Edition compliance, you can access it from this link: https://cms.officeally.com/2015-ACB-Certification.aspx

The EHR Version highlighted in green is the current version:

Office Ally's ONC-ACB 2015 Certification

If you have questions about Cures Act in regards to Office Ally's EHR, please direct them to us at compliance@officeally.com or contact us at 1-360-975-7000

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