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In May, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, or ONC, issued new regulations designed to make electronic health information, known as EHI, available to patients and requesters as soon as possible with minimal extra steps and delays. The deadline for compliance initially was set for Nov. 2, 2020, but was later delayed until April 5, 2021. 

Although nothing in ONC’s final rule is meant to require disclosure of requested EHI in a way that would be prohibited under HIPAA, if entities are permitted to disclose EHI under HIPAA, then they are now required to do so to avoid potential information blocking violations, with a few exceptions. In addition to these exceptions, applicable state and federal law around privacy can override information blocking mandates.

APTA's Information Blocking webpage provides general guidance and background on the rule. This analysis provides details on how to ensure compliance. If you have specific questions as to the application of the law to your activities, you should seek the advice of your legal counsel.

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