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Wellness & CareHealth News › Electronic Health Information and the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update
May 24, 2022

Electronic Health Information and the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update

Electronic Health Information and the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update

You may have noticed some lab results posted to your Patient Portal sooner than before. This change reflects a federal law called the 21st Century Cures Act.

What is the 21st Century Cures Act?

The 21st Century Cures Act is an extensive health reform law enacted by the U.S. Congress that, among other provisions, will require all clinicians, hospitals, and health care systems to release electronic health information to patients as soon as it becomes available.

What changes should I expect?

In the coming months, Westmed will begin to automatically release lab results to the portal as soon as we receive them.  This could mean that, at times, your results are released to you before your provider has reviewed them.

While some practices and departments are at different stages of implementation, our goal is to achieve consistency across our organization by 2023. In addition, we are adapting our processes to protect privacy and other sensitive information.

Ultimately, our efforts will promote transparency and ensure faster, more convenient information access – and advance our commitment to you for a simpler, more connected health care experience.

What does this mean for me?

If you have a Westmed Patient Portal, you will be able to see various clinical documents as soon as they become available, including:

    • Notes related to your visits
    • Lab, pathology, and radiology results

It is important to remember that since your health information is released so quickly, you may see your results before your provider does. Your provider will review your information as soon as possible and, as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your provider.

Will the law affect my electronic health information access as a caregiver?

Caregiver access for parents, legal guardians, and health care proxies (someone allowed to access a patient’s health information) remains available and in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Are there exceptions to what I can see?

The 21st Century Cures Act’s rule regarding “information blocking” prohibits activity that interferes with the “access, exchange, or use of electronic health information.” That said, the rule includes exceptions to prevent harm, protect privacy, and comply with other laws. There may also be limitations in full transparency of records due to technical infeasibility. You can read this document for detailed information regarding information blocking exceptions.

Accessing electronic health information

Consider creating a Patient Portal account to access information from your Westmed visits conveniently and securely.