March 9, 2020 - Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), issued this statement following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) final rule on Interoperability and Patient Access, and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology final rule on Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program:
"Americans should be able to get their health care information when they need it, in a format that is convenient for them, to help them make better, more informed health care choices. That's why health insurance providers continue to make personalized tools available to deliver actionable health information, from patient portals to mobile apps and telehealth services.
"Health insurance providers share HHS's vision for expanded consumer data access and are committed to building a truly interoperable health care system that integrates and shares data seamlessly to enhance care coordination and improve outcomes. However, when it comes to transparency in health care, patients overwhelmingly want two things - for the information to be clear, concise, and customized, and for their privacy to be protected. Any new rules must ensure we protect patient privacy, reduce health care costs, and get personalized information into the hands of patients. Sixty two percent of consumers say that stronger protection of their personal privacy should outweigh any efforts to make it easier to access consumer health care data, and 90% believe that private technology companies should be held to the same privacy standards as health insurance providers.
"We remain gravely concerned that patient privacy will still be at risk when health care information is transferred outside the protections of federal patient privacy laws. Individually identifiable health care information can readily be bought and sold on the open market and combined with other personal health data by unknown and potentially bad actors. Consumers will ultimately have no control over what data the app developers sell, to whom or for how long.
"We look forward to working closely with the Administration, Administrator Verma, and Dr. Rucker to facilitate health care data interoperability and ensure that implementation enhances care coordination, safety, efficiency and value in a way that protects patient privacy."