Information Blocking refers to the practice of intentionally interfering or preventing the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI) by health information technology (HIT) developers, health information exchanges (HIEs), health care providers, or health care organizations. This interference could include actions such as imposing technical or contractual restrictions on the exchange or use of EHI, charging excessive fees for access or exchange of EHI, or providing misleading or inaccurate information about EHI exchange capabilities.
Information Blocking can have a significant negative impact on patient care, population health, and healthcare costs, as it limits the ability of healthcare providers to share and access patient information necessary for the coordination of care and the delivery of timely and effective treatment. In April 2021, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) implemented the Information Blocking Final Rule, which establishes penalties and fines for health care providers and HIT developers who engage in information blocking practices.
What are the Penalties for Information Blocking Violations?
The penalties for information blocking violations include:
Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs): Healthcare providers and HIT developers who violate the Information Blocking Final Rule can be fined up to $1 million per violation. This penalty can be imposed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Exclusion from Federal Healthcare Programs: Healthcare providers who engage in information blocking practices can be excluded from participating in federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This exclusion can be imposed by the HHS Office of Inspector General.
Potential Liability: Healthcare providers and HIT developers may also face liability from private parties for damages resulting from information blocking practices.
Reputational Damage: Information blocking practices can damage the reputation of healthcare providers and HIT developers and may result in loss of business.
It's worth noting that the ONC has indicated that it will take a "compliance first" approach to enforcement of the Information Blocking Final Rule, which means that it will prioritize education and outreach efforts to help stakeholders understand the rule and comply with its requirements. However, healthcare providers and HIT developers should still take information blocking violations seriously and ensure that they are taking steps to avoid engaging in prohibited practices.
What are the Information Blocking Training Requirements?
The Information Blocking Final Rule requires healthcare providers and health information technology (HIT) developers to complete training on information blocking. The goal of this training is to ensure that these stakeholders understand what constitutes information blocking and how to comply with the new rules.
The Information Blocking Training Requirements include the following:
HIT developers must provide training to their employees on the requirements of the Information Blocking Final Rule and how to avoid information blocking.
Healthcare providers must complete training on the requirements of the Information Blocking Final Rule and how to avoid information blocking. This training should cover topics such as the scope of the rule, the exceptions to the rule, and the potential consequences of violating the rule.
Healthcare providers must also provide training to their employees on the requirements of the Information Blocking Final Rule and how to avoid information blocking.
Both HIT developers and healthcare providers must document their training activities and retain these records for at least six years.
It's worth noting that the ONC has provided a set of standardized training materials that stakeholders can use to meet these requirements. These materials include videos, fact sheets, and other resources designed to help HIT developers and healthcare providers understand the requirements of the Information Blocking Final Rule.
About LMS Portals
At LMS Portals, we provide our clients and partners with a SaaS-based, multi-tenant learning management system that allows you to launch a dedicated training environment (a portal) for each of your unique audiences.
We provide a ready-made, on-demand Information Blocking Awareness course and partner with industry experts to provide high-quality, customized Information Blocking awareness training, delivered on a branded portal with managed services and detailed reporting. We also provide powerful integrations to deliver your program data to most any in-house centralized data management system you choose.