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AMA Seeks Your Experiences Related to Releasing Reports/Notes Without Vital Physician Context
Posted on: 4/23/2021
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Deadline is April 30, 2021

The American Medical Association (AMA) is conducting an informal survey to collect perspectives, stories and examples of patient harm related to the release of protected health information (PHI) due to the new information blocking regulations.

Guidance from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)

directs physicians to release certain electronic health information (“EHI”, a term that includes lab tests, clinical notes, medications, etc.) to patients upon request, which could occur before the physician reviews the information and without regard to whether such release could be mentally or emotionally distressing to the patient. To be clear, there is no requirement under the information blocking regulations to proactively make available any EHI to patients or others who have not requested it. 

Physicians interfering or imposing delays in the access, exchange or use of that information may run afoul of the new rules aimed to prevent information blocking unless they qualify for an exception. For example, the “preventing harm” exception allows that physician practices may limit access to electronic health information in a way that is "reasonable and necessary to prevent harm to a patient or another person," but under current rules, mental and emotional distress are not considered “harm.” 

(Access ISMS’ Issue Brief on Information Blocking.)

The AMA is advocating for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to revise its sub-regulatory guidance on “harm” to include emotional and mental distress.

Your examples will help inform the AMA’s efforts to address unintended consequences of OCR’s current policy and ONC’s information blocking regulations. 

Please send your examples via email to Ela Cameron of the AMA by April 30, 2021

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