New HHS rule gives patients new access and control over medical records

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Department of Health and Human Services enacted rules Monday to give patients more access to their medical records.

But not everyone is in favor of the move, including the American Hospital Association.

In the age of smart phones, pretty much everything is at your finger tips. Need to move money from one bank to another? It's relatively simple.

But head to a new doctor, and you'll probably find yourself trying to remember your entire medical history to fill out those forms.

"As you age and maybe change cities or locations, you don't remember all the procedures, all the meds, all the docs, all the locations,” Dick Flanigan said.

Flanagan, the senior V.P. of Cerner, a Kansas City based global supplier of health information, said for years after records went digital, many patients have still found themselves having to pick up CDs or print outs of their own records to take to a new physician.

"Each organization kind of picked their own way of doing things they picked different suppliers like Cerner, some departments picked something different than the hospital at large," Flanigan said.

"So what ended up happening is information got put into small containers and became inaccessible to the patients and frankly the other providers as well."

The 1,244 HHS page document outlining the new rules for interoperability and patient access requires medical providers to release your records to any third-party app to manage your data.

Even though it's completely voluntary for patients, the new rules aren't without detractors.

“Today’s final rule fails to protect consumers’ most sensitive information about their personal health," said Rick Pollack, American Hospital Association president.

"The rule lacks the necessary guardrails to protect consumers from actors such as third party apps that are not required to meet the same stringent privacy and security requirements as hospitals."

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