A Year of Healthcare Rulemaking
How New Proposed Rules Support CMS Goals and the 21st Century Cures Act
The healthcare industry is poised to undergo significant changes in 2023 as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sets forth a wave of rulemaking following the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act. With the passing of this groundbreaking legislation, the stage is now set for a new data sharing approach in healthcare. However, the successful execution of this vision relies on equitable implementation across all healthcare providers, irrespective of their technological capabilities. As CMS takes charge of these rulemaking efforts, 2023 is set to be a transformative year for healthcare regulation and data interoperability.
The Role of Rulemaking in Healthcare
When a law is enacted, it often requires further elaboration and clarification to effectively implement its intended objectives. This is where rulemaking comes into play. Rulemaking refers to the process by which agencies, such as CMS, establish the detailed regulations and procedures necessary to execute a law effectively. In the case of the 21st Century Cures Act, rulemaking becomes paramount to achieve the goal of seamless data sharing in healthcare.
The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law in 2016, was a landmark legislation aimed at ensuring healthcare data can easily be accessible by all providers and patients to facilitate better health outcomes. One of its crucial provisions involves advancing interoperability and facilitating the exchange of health information between different providers and systems.
To achieve this ambitious goal, CMS is tasked with developing and enforcing the rules that will govern data sharing across the healthcare landscape. These rules will outline the standards and requirements necessary for providers to share patient information in a secure and efficient manner. By establishing a uniform approach to data sharing, CMS aims to enhance patient care coordination, reduce medical errors, and promote healthcare innovation.
Equitable Implementation — Overcoming Technological Disparities
While the push for data sharing standards is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the implementation of these standards must be equitable across all healthcare providers. As the healthcare industry embraces digital innovation at varying rates, it is crucial to ensure that smaller providers, many of whom treat our most vulnerable populations and have limited technological resources, are not left behind.
Innovators, such as Consensus Cloud Solutions understand the importance of addressing these disparities. By developing user-friendly, intuitive technologies, we strive to bridge the gap between providers with varying levels of technical expertise. These solutions aim to make data sharing accessible to all healthcare stakeholders, irrespective of your technological knowledge or infrastructure.
As healthcare organizations transition from unstructured to structured data, companies like Consensus are acting like translators to bridge the gap and facilitate this transformation. As an example, we have the capability through our NLP and AI solution, Clarity, to convert traditional document formats, such as faxes, PDFs and scanned documents, into structured data formats like FHIR, HL7 and X12. By doing so, we enable healthcare providers to participate in data sharing initiatives without requiring extensive technical knowledge or costly system upgrades.
By offering these innovative tools and services, we empower all healthcare providers to embrace interoperability without disrupting existing workflow. It is vital for the continuity of care for our patients that all providers, from the large academic medical center to the community substance abuse clinic, be able to contribute to the seamless exchange of healthcare information.
In the pursuit of health equity, we need to understand that it is more than just treating all patients the same. Providers need reliable and actionable data to deliver the type of care that meets the unique needs of each individual. In order to achieve this, it is essential for rulemaking efforts to consider the technical burdens faced by healthcare providers so that everyone has equal access to data.
Companies like Consensus, along with esteemed associations such as the American Hospital Association and the Association of Community Clinics, are playing a crucial role in advocating for these considerations. We are bringing this visibility to Congress and the administration, emphasizing the importance of addressing technical challenges and ensuring that rulemaking progresses in a manner that promotes health equity.
By recognizing the significance of reliable and actionable data, and by acknowledging the technical burdens faced by healthcare providers, rulemaking efforts can effectively support the delivery of equitable care. As CMS spearheads the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, it is imperative that the voices of all our stakeholders along with associations are heard and incorporated into the regulatory framework ensuring that every patient receives the quality care they deserve.