The 21st Century Cures Act: The Latest Changes to Note

Callie Norton
January 22, 2024
min read

How to Implement Healthcare Transparency

As the healthcare industry rapidly evolves, keeping up with legislative changes is an essential part of running your clinic. From policy shifts to technological advancements, these changes directly impact how you deliver and manage care.

But amidst all these changes, one piece of legislation you need to be intimately familiar with is the 21st Century Cures Act.

Along with influencing the development and approval of new treatments, this act has a significant impact on health information technology. Understanding it will allow you to follow current trends, improve patient care, and adhere to ongoing regulations.

As healthcare continues to evolve, you have to ensure your organization is at the forefront. Keep reading to learn how PracticeQ can prepare you for the ongoing changes ahead and set your clinic up for success.

Why the 21st Century Cures Act Matters

Signed in December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act is a bipartisan law designed to fast-track medical innovation. It provides the healthcare industry with the necessary resources to deliver new treatments and interventions at a faster, more effective pace.

Importantly, another significant aspect of the act centers around health information technology. It underlines enhanced interoperability between systems, patient access to health information, and the prevention of information blocking.

Altogether, this legislation progresses a decades-long fight for total healthcare transparency, seamless data exchange, and patient-centric care. It enforces rules that mandate the accessibility and interoperability of patient data while enabling more collaborative and patient-centric care.

Understanding the HHS Proposal

With the foundation set by the 21st Century Cures Act, healthcare IT has experienced many changes—and, as shown by a recent proposal, it’s continuing to evolve.

In a 2022 Report to Congress, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighted COVID-19-exposed gaps in health IT systems. In particular, these gaps especially impacted marginalized individuals. But despite funds from the 2009 HITECH Act for EHR adoption, public health IT systems received insufficient resources. As a result, systems were overwhelmed, and there was scarce actionable data.

The HHS proposal identifies four key barriers that currently hinder the full implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act:

  1. Information blocking authority: Currently, the ONC and HHS lack the authority to decide what’s considered information blocking under the Cures Act.
  2. Health information sharing: Despite CMS requirements, most non-federal acute care hospitals still struggle with public health reporting.
  3. Health Information Exchange (HIE) fragmentation: HIEs often serve local markets only and lack unified data sharing standards. As a result, there are higher costs, care quality barriers, and poorer user experiences for both patients and providers.
  4. Health IT Adoption Incentives: HHS policies fall short in offering incentives to some providers, like behavioral health professionals, to adopt certified EHRs. Such a gap makes exchanging information and integrating systems more complicated.

Altogether, addressing these barriers is no small feat. It requires strategic coordination with healthcare providers, regulatory bodies, and health IT platforms like PracticeQ.

PracticeQ Is Your Partner in Overcoming Barriers & Achieving Compliance

While PracticeQ can’t influence legislative decisions, it does align with many of the HHS proposal’s objectives. As healthcare systems strive for greater transparency and efficiency, PracticeQ serves as an essential tool in advancing these goals. Its secure, user-friendly platform encourages efficient data sharing, increases transparency, and meets a wide range of care needs.

Whether through HIPAA-compliant forms, streamlined patient care, or simplified practice management, PracticeQ helps healthcare practices navigate industry changes:

  • Operate efficiently without paperwork: A digital format eliminates the time-consuming paperwork that hinders your productivity. Without stacks of paperwork, you can focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks.
  • Share information effortlessly: PracticeQ's Client Portal and Treatment Notes promote efficiently exchange electronic health information. With swift data exchange, you can improve care coordination and collaboration with other healthcare organizations.
  • Improve the user experience: Its user-friendly platform eases the management of health data for patients and providers alike. It provides seamless access to health information, easy appointment scheduling, and e-signature support for consent forms.
  • Offer comprehensive care: PracticeQ's customizable features cater to diverse health and care needs, mirroring the Cures Act’s vision of patient-centric care.

With many features to support ongoing changes, PracticeQ is doing more than adapting to modern standards—it’s helping to shape them for the future. It stands as a valuable tool in navigating the healthcare industry’s evolution, ensuring compliance and enabling high-quality, patient-centered care. To adapt to these changes and begin your journey towards improved healthcare delivery, we invite you to try PracticeQ today.

This article was originally published on


Affairs (ASPA), A. S. for P. (2023, April 11). HHS Proposes New Rule to Further Implement the 21st Century Cures Act. HHS; Department of Health and Human Services.

Muoio, D. (2023, March 9). What’s Holding Back Health IT Interoperability in 2023? ONC Has Some Thoughts. Https://; Fierce Healthcare.

Our History: Fifty Years in the Making. (n.d.). OpenNotes.

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