Posted By Dayna Riddle On September 14, 2023
What is the 21st Century Cures Act?
The 21st Century Cures Act, also known as the Cures Act certification, is a landmark legislation with significant implications for the healthcare industry. Although it includes many regulations, the one that stands out for health organizations is the promotion of interoperability between Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The term “interoperability” refers to the ability of health organizations to exchange patient history, program reporting, and other data in a secure way that protects confidential information. To achieve this goal, the Cures Act outlines specific EHR interoperability standards and establishes a certification program for technology developers.
Why does my EHR need to be Cures Act Certified?
The Cures Act is vital for healthcare professionals, as it refers to the safe exchange of information between your EHR system and those of other providers. This allows optimal care to your patients, as other providers can access patients’ complete health histories, test results, and prescriptions, to name a few. This promotes whole-person care, as patients can easily be transferred to another health provider who specializes in the care they need.
When you are equipped with patients’ complete health history, you can make informed treatment decisions. This leads to improved patient outcomes and a reduced risk of medical errors. By establishing interoperability standards and a certification program, the Cures Act encourages technology companies to develop EHR systems that can effectively communicate and share critical health data across the entire healthcare ecosystem.
What are the benefits of using a Cures Act Certified EHR?
Cures Act Certified EHR systems enable healthcare organizations and professionals to access a broader range of patient health information. With a Cures Act-certified EHR, providers can tap into patient records from health information exchanges (HIEs), immunization registries, labs, hospital systems, and more. This wealth of information allows for more informed decision-making, better care coordination, and high-quality, efficient care.
Furthermore, a Cures Act-certified EHR reduces costs within your organization. By improving access to health information and promoting better care coordination, duplicate tests can be avoided, medical errors are minimized, and readmission rates are lowered. In addition, this certification improves security and can protect against malware attacks, which can lead to thousands (or millions) of dollars lost in fines, legal fees, or ransom money. In addition, you may be eligible for grant funding related to specific security requirements (or even penalized for not being up-to-date). Avoiding these negative outcomes translates into significant cost savings for healthcare organizations and ultimately benefits patients by reducing their financial burden.
Is my EHR Cures Act Certified?
To determine if your EHR meets the Cures Act interoperability standards, look on your vendor’s website for “ONC 2015 Edition Certification,” which is the most recent edition. ONC stands for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and they are the standard for Cures Act certifications. You can also check the Certified Health IT Product List website. Just type in your system’s name and it will indicate the compliance level, with a green check mark representing an up-to-date certification.
The Cures Act represents a modern era of healthcare innovation and collaboration enabled by EHR interoperability. As a healthcare professional, embracing a Cures Act-certified EHR will unlock benefits such as access to comprehensive patient health data, improved care coordination, and cost savings. The road to healthcare transformation starts with aligning with the Cures Act and its vision of a truly interoperable and patient-centric healthcare landscape.
About Patagonia Health, Inc.
Patagonia Health’s integrated EHR, Practice Management, and Billing solutions are designed to improve departmental workflows using apps and cloud-based technology. Our company was founded with a focus on providing technology solutions with highly referenceable customer service. We collaborate with public and behavioral health organizations to develop advanced features, empowering them to improve the well-being of their communities. Our federally-certified software enables our customers to achieve their desired health outcomes. We serve those who serve others. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today.