Cures Act and transparency of clinical data to patients

Beginning Nov. 2, new federal rules required YNHHS to release all clinical notes and all lab, diagnostic imaging, pathology and genetics results in Epic to patients via MyChart.

The 21st Century Cures Act was designed to promote interoperability between electronic health records to ease patient access to healthcare data. YNHHS’ Medical Information officers and Information Technology Services have been working to implement workflows to meet these legal requirements. Some of the changes will be invisible to clinicians. Others, especially the transparency of notes, may require some workflow changes and conversations between providers and patients about how to manage this transparency.

Several organizations are already fully compliant with the Cures Act. Despite initial trepidation, their experience has been positive, and there is no evidence that increasing patient access to their data adds to front-line clinical workload. Nevertheless, these changes represent a cultural shift for patients and practices. As such, YNHHS ITS clinical leaders, the Patient Experience leadership team and Marketing and Communications teams have been working to communicate that patients will be able to view results immediately, in some cases before their clinicians have reviewed them. The experience of practices that have already adopted these changes is that patients are more proactive and feel more in control of their health.

Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks via email, marketing materials, Epic screens and clinical workstations to help inform everyone affected by these changes. In the interim, send specific questions to nitu.kashyap@ynhh.org or allen.hsiao@yale.edu.