Accessing Electronic Health Information Cures Act


Information for Patients: The 21st Century Cures Act

In April 2021, the 21st Century Cures Act went into effect, which gives you more control over your own health information by ensuring patient access to electronic health information (EHI) in an electronic format. Patients have the right to request digital copies of anything in their Designated Record Set, which is a wide-ranging collection of documents, test results, and even clinicians’ notes.  The Cures Act also prevents Information Blocking, which is any practice that interferes with a patient’s access to or use of EHI.

What is the Designated Record Set?

If you make a request as a patient as part of the Cures Act, your requested information must be shared with you if it’s available in the Designated Record Set (DRS). These records include not just medical documents, but also billing and patient account records.

The Designated Record Set covers dozens of different types of health records including laboratory results, nursing records, pathology reports, physical exams, consultation reports, radiology reports, triage records and other measurements. It also includes nearly a dozen different pieces of billing data including an itemized statement of charges, payments, refunds, adjustments, insurance coverage claims, denials and documented price estimates.

Learn more about the Designated Record Set here.

What is Information Blocking?

The Cures Act prohibits a practice called Information Blocking, which is anything that excessively interferes with access, exchange or use of your electronic health information (EHI). A practice that impedes access—whether it’s in the form of excessive pay-per-printed-page fees, unnecessary contracts or paperwork, or simply through extended delay—is considered Information Blocking and is unlawful. 

As a patient, you have the right to access the electronic health information contained in your Designated Record Set, the right to have that EHI sent to another provider and the right to request it in a variety of formats including print versions, digital files and via a patient portal. There are a limited number of exceptions to the Information Blocking rule, including for reasons of preventing patient harm, privacy, security and infeasibility.

As a patient, once you have made a request for documentation under the Cures Act, you should receive a response within 10 days, and your requested records within 30 days (or 60 days if an extension is applicable).

Learn more about Information Blocking here.

How do I make a Cures Act Request?

If you would like to request documents available to you in your DRS under the Cures Act, we ask that you first review the information available through your hospital or provider office patient portal.

If the information you require is not available there, download and complete an Authorization for Release of Information Form. This form is required for medical records, to release your records to a third party or to obtain records of a deceased patient. A request for physical copies of Radiology Images requires use of a different form.

Both of these forms and more details about accessing your records can be found here.