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NextGen™ System and the 21st Century Cures Act

by | Jul 18, 2023

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) requires healthcare providers to demonstrate an increased level of interoperability, provide patients with access to their electronic health records (EHRs), and comply with higher data sharing standards. The act also penalizes healthcare providers who break information blocking rules and encourages them to share data. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for ensuring the successful implementation of the law.  

To ensure Cures Act compliance, health IT developers at NextGen™ released the upgrade to NextGen™ 6.2021.1, aimed at meeting rules for health information exchanges (HIEs) and other requirements. The deadline for Cures Act compliance is Q3 2023.  

Understanding Cures Act Requirements 

The ONC Cures Act, short for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Cures Act Final Rule, is an act put in place to promote interoperability and improve patient access to their electronic healthcare information. This act is a result of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in 2016. The primary goal of the ONC Cures Act is to improve the efficiency, quality, and safety of healthcare services through the use of technology. 

Why is the ONC Cures Act Important? 

The purpose of the ONC Cures Act is to provide patients with better access to their medical records, allowing them to have more control over their healthcare decisions. This act also encourages interoperability between different healthcare providers, making it easier for doctors and other healthcare professionals to have access to the patient’s medical information.  

By improving the accessibility of medical records, the ONC Cures Act promotes better communication, coordination, and collaboration between the patient and healthcare providers, ultimately leading to better healthcare outcomes. 

NextGen™ and Cures Act Compliance 

The ONC Cures Act mandates that healthcare providers use certified electronic health records (CEHR) and provides guidance on how to share medical data efficiently and securely. This means that healthcare professionals must use EHRs that meet the certification criteria set out in the act and implement appropriate security measures to protect patient information. The ONC Cures Act also gives patients the right to access their medical records electronically and requires healthcare providers to comply with requests for data exchange, enhancing patient engagement. 

NextGen™ Patient Engagement 

The use of patient portals has many benefits for healthcare providers and has been shown to improve patient outcomes. Patients can access their medical records anytime, anywhere, and stay updated on their health status. Additionally, using a patient portal can help save time and streamline administrative workload for healthcare providers.  

The NextGen PxP Portal is an example of a software system that helps providers meet Cures Act compliance requirements while also improving the patient experience through engagement and communication. It provides features such as appointment scheduling, medication refills, and secure messaging with healthcare professionals. Patients can also view their medical history, lab results, and personal health information in one place. 

The portal is user-friendly and accessible from any device, making it convenient for patients to connect with their providers. The software also offers customization options for healthcare providers to tailor the portal to their practice’s needs and ensures that patient data is safe with encryption and multi-factor authentication methods. 

NextGen™ Data Sharing  

Data sharing is a key aspect of Cures Act requirements. To meet compliance requirements, healthcare providers must adopt secure methods of sharing data electronically. Benefits of data sharing include:  

  • Improved care coordination: When patient information is shared between different healthcare providers, it creates a more complete picture of their health and enables providers to make more informed decisions about their treatment.  
  • Increased patient engagement: As patients gain access to their health information, they become more involved in their own care and are more likely to adhere to treatment plans and experience better health outcomes. 
  • Timely decision-making: With the ability to access patients’ health information in real-time, providers are better equipped to make timely decisions about their care.  

With the Mirth Health Data Hub by NextGen Healthcare, healthcare professionals can easily send, receive, and share patient data securely. By leveraging Mirth, they can create an efficient and cost-effective interface with health information exchanges and other healthcare providers. 

The Mirth Health Data Hub comes with an intuitive interface, which enables healthcare professionals to manage patient data easily. With a few clicks, they can set up data mappings, modify them in real-time, and monitor data flow. This technology makes patient data management more efficient and effective.  

The technology also enables providers to package a patient summary and put it in a Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) format. In addition, its application programming interface (API) meets the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) implementation specifications. 

NextGen™ Certified EHR Technology 

Certified EHR technology (CEHRT) is EHR technology that meets the standards and criteria defined by the ONC which are essential to ensuring that EHRs meet essential technical and security standards. To receive certification, EHR products must meet specific standards and criteria defined by the ONC. These standards include functionalities related to patient care coordination, patient engagement, interoperability, privacy, and security.  

NextGen™ technology is designed to increase productivity, reduce administrative burdens, and improve patient outcomes. The system is certified by the ONC and meets the Meaningful Use criteria, ensuring that healthcare providers can use it to support a wide range of clinical functions and meet healthcare regulations. 

Features include user-friendly and streamlined clinical workflows. For example, the “One Touch” template simplifies documentation and provides a more intuitive interface for healthcare professionals. Plus, the platform offers keyboard shortcuts that simplify navigation.  

Summary: NextGen™ and Cures Act Compliance   

The ONC Cures Act is a vital regulation for improving the accessibility, quality, and safety of healthcare.  The NextGen™ suite of solutions help providers meet those requirements with enhanced EHR functionality, patient engagement features, and robust interoperability – and provides peace of mind for Cures Act compliance. Improving the accessibility of medical records, with better communication, coordination, and collaboration between the patient and healthcare providers ultimately leads to better healthcare outcomes. 

Ensuring Compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act 

Navigating the healthcare landscape can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to staying compliant with ever-changing regulations. Our expert compliance consultants are ready to assist you in implementing the necessary steps to ensure compliance and optimize your NextGen™ EHR System. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve your operations by making the most of NextGen™’s functionality and features.  


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