We’ve rounded up the top five medical records news stories from last month. Check out the list below for industry highlights from April 2020.

Medical Records Needed to Create National Coronavirus Registry

Healthcare and software companies are working together to build a national COVID-19 registry built from patient medical records. The database is planned to include all patients who have been tested for coronavirus and detailed information about current or past health conditions, with the goal of providing information for healthcare experts to analyze the effectiveness of different treatment options. All patient information will be anonymized in order to protect privacy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rolled out an app to assist in the automation of COVID-19 case reporting.

ONC Relaxes Interoperability Rules Enforcement

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has loosened requirements for electronic health data availability. Previous regulations had required that electronic health records be available to patients at no cost and had defined exceptions to data blocking. The new data sharing regulations further enable patient access to their electronic medical records and is expected to encourage increased innovation.

Hackers Targeting Healthcare Providers

In Europe and the U.S., hackers began increasingly targeting healthcare providers. Phishing, ransomware and malware attacks surged last month as COVID-19 placed a strain on the operations of many practices, making testing labs and hospitals systems especially vulnerable. These attacks often focus on locking down computers containing electronic medical records, with hackers demanding a ransom for providers to access key patient information.

Medical Workers Furloughed Due to COVID-19

While some hospitals and practices are overwhelmed with COVID-19 care, other healthcare services deemed non-essential have faced reduced hours or temporary closures. As a result, thousands of healthcare workers across the U.S. have been furloughed, laid off, or are working fewer hours. State and local governments are seeking to safely reopen businesses, including healthcare practices.

New CARES Act Loosens Protection of Substance Abuse Disorder Records

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law in late March amends the CFR 42 Part 2 regulations and confidentiality requirements of substance use disorder records in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Among these amendments are changes to disclosure for treatment, accounting of disclosure, records breach notification, and notice of privacy practices.

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