In case you missed it, The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is a new initiative created by the FCC to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new program will help connect eligible households to jobs, virtual classrooms, and critical healthcare & telehealth services.
By the end of April 2021, $3.2 billion in funding will be available to provide qualifying households discounted pricing on internet service bills and computers or tablets.
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The information blocking provisions of the Cures Act are now in effect as of April 5, 2021. This is a major shift in an industry that has historically come up against challenges in sharing data across providers as well as providing necessary patient health information to patients. This legislation is key to advancing the portability of patient health information which the industry has sorely needed in the healthcare marketplace.
According to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), the rule is designed to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information. It also aims to increase innovation and competition by fostering an ecosystem of new applications to provide patients with more choices in their healthcare (ONC Health IT).
The COVID-19 pandemic was a demonstration of how quickly the healthcare industry can mobilize to support vulnerable populations. Collaboration across payors, to technology vendors, and even regulatory agencies provided a glimpse of what can be done when barriers are removed and innovation is encouraged.
The information blocking rule is a stepping stone to improving the delivery of healthcare in this country and is a significant opportunity providers and vendors alike to introducing new approaches to healthcare not previously considered. While the final rule has exclusion criteria built in, BlueNovo urges healthcare and technology organizations reconsider this path and acknowledge that the direction of healthcare can only be improved with increased transparency and collaboration.
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One positive outcome in response to the pandemic has been increased funding allocated to health centers to allow for boosting their EHR systems and all around bettering the healthcare they can provide. Last week, several health IT vendors including Epic Systems and Cerner, announced the formation of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). This initiative would help to digitalize vaccination records, allowing patients and organizations to access an individuals records faster. This would enable better tracking of these records and expedite the ability to present vaccination history, hopefully enabling quicker return to normalcy for our society. Read More Here
In the wake of 2020, a year filled with various natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry learned that one thing remained true: Interoperability is paramount. With pop up health care facilities and remote patient care becoming a new normal in 2020, the ability for EHR’s to disperse patient information readily became crucial to providing the best and most accurate level of care. As we begin 2021 still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is apparent that optimizing these systems is more important than ever to get providers the information they are looking for as quickly as possible so that they can continue to do their job- caring for people and saving lives. Read More Here
With priority high-risk groups already receiving the initial doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine, the big question is figuring out who gets to go next. With an advisory board in place, but limited information being dispersed, it is hard to tell who is next in line after health care workers and nursing home patients and staff. But how do we prioritize who receives the next phase of vaccines?