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Digital Health

New developments in the digital health field are appearing at a rapid pace. These technologies impact multiple areas of medicine, including diagnosis and treatment, medical records and data, corporate bar, and patient access to care. 

CMA is constantly working to develop tools and resources to help physicians utilize digital health tools in their practices. This involves both working on policies that support efficiency and easing administrative burdens, and developing practical tools and resources physicians can use in their practices.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records (EHR) are now a part of most physician practices and digital health technology, including EHRs, play a key role in the provision of health care.

While the vast majority of physicians now use an EHR in their practice, there is still much work to be done. Some physicians are looking to replace their EHR with a more robust system. Practices may also be seeking information about government incentive programs, such as the federal Quality Payment Program or the Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program.

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Information Blocking

In May 2020, the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule, sometimes known as the “Information Blocking Rule.” After several delays related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the rule took effect on April 5, 2021.

The Information Blocking Rule will give physicians and patients unprecedented access to electronic health information (EHI). It will also spur the development of new forms of health information exchange. However, physicians need to be aware of special circumstances in California, where state privacy laws affect how the rule is implemented.


Patient Communication

As physicians and patients embrace the use of technology in health, physicians are increasingly using various forms of electronic communication to interact with their patients. In fact, many patients prefer having the option to communicate with their physicians via email, text, or electronic messaging through a patient portal to receive test results, refill prescriptions, and obtain medical advice for nonemergent care. It is important to be mindful of the benefits and risk associated with the use of these new technologies.

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Privacy and Security

California physicians must comply with state and federal privacy and security laws to protect patient information.

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Telehealth

Telehealth has been growing in popularity for years. Many patients enjoy the convenience of meeting with their physician virtually, and physicians find that telehealth allows them to keep in touch with their patients between in person visits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, use of telehealth exploded, as public and private payors expanded their rules about telehealth. As the pandemic abates, CMA is focused on maintaining the progress that has been made.

Related CMA Health Law Library Documents:
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