Effective April 5, 2021, the “information blocking” prohibition of the Cures Act disallows healthcare providers, including laboratories, from engaging in any practice that is “likely to interfere with access, exchange or use of electronic health information”. In practice, this requires that electronic health information (EHI) such as laboratory test results should be made available to a patient as soon as they are finalized. Prior to the Cures act requirement, CPL delayed release of most test results to patients for 72 hours to allow providers an opportunity to review the laboratory record in advance of patient interaction. Under the Cures Act, routine/blanket delays are no longer allowed. The few exceptions that permit temporary delay include the “preventing harm exception”. Under this exception, the risk of harm must be:

  1. Determined on an individualized basis by a provider with a prior relationship with the patient, and
  2. That provider determines that immediate access is reasonably likely to endanger the life or physical safety of the patient or another person.

Under the requirement of the Cures Act, all finalized laboratory results (to include blood testing, microbiology, biopsies, cytology and genetic studies) will be made immediately available to patients who have registered for the laboratory portal or who request the results by other electronic means unless the provider specifically attaches an order to hold results as follows:

Test Code: 813

Test Name: Patient Record Request Hold 

  • Must be associated with the accession to be held
  • May be ordered in laboratory portal, laboratory test compendia or on manual requisitions, or
  • May be verbally added to an accession via customer service prior to result finalization

The request to hold results will temporarily prevent transmission to the laboratory patient portal. All requests will be routinely reviewed by the laboratory, and the provider will be contacted to determine the minimum hold time required to satisfy the requirements of the exception. The provider should document the reason to hold results in their own medical record. The laboratory is required to audit use of the hold code to monitor utilization and prevent routine/blanket use. Further changes to the use of this hold code or the documentation associated with the code may be required as additional information becomes available.

More information is available at: www.healthit.gov/topic/information-blocking 

Please contact your Account Representative should you have any questions regarding the changes described above.