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The Federal Trade Commission staff has submitted a statement in support of certain changes made by the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking Final Rule.

FTC staff previously submitted a comment when ONC published its proposed rule on interoperability and information blocking. The staff comment supported ONC’s efforts to foster innovation and competition in health information technology (health IT), and suggested changes to help refine ONC’s proposed interoperability and information blocking rule.

In the current statement, FTC staff from the Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Office of Policy Planning, and Bureau of Economics express appreciation for the changes that ONC incorporated in the Final Rule in response to FTC staff’s prior comment and continued informal technical assistance. Those changes include:

  • A streamlined definition of electronic health information so that it applies more narrowly to information targeted by the Final Rule’s authorizing statute;
  • A new “content and manner” exception in the final rule that should facilitate near-term compliance with the Final Rule’s requirements regarding electronic health information;
  • Clarified and streamlined concepts of “exchange, access, and use;” and
  • A clarification that the Final Rule does not alter the FTC’s role in protecting the privacy and security of consumers’ personal information.

The Commission vote authorizing staff to submit the statement to ONC was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. We also develop policy initiatives on issues that affect competition, consumers, and the U.S. economy. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. You can also learn more about how to protect the privacy and security of personal information and file a complaint about a business practice. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs

David B. Schwartz
Bureau of Competition