Access to personal medical records (7) USA Federal 21st Century Cures Act

29 March, 2021

The US Federal 21st Century Cures Act. It may be of interest to those who are interested in the processing of digital personal health data and of digital health records. The Cures Act includes widespread changes in personal information processing for all health service providers and patients.

Dr Brian Clay explains OpenNotes very very well at:

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), signed into law on December 13, 2016, is designed to help accelerate medical product development and bring new innovations and advances to patients who need them faster and more efficiently.

Discussion about the Act can be seen at

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018 Sep 1;25(9):1218-1220.

doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocy065.

The 21st Century Cures Act and electronic health records one year later: will patients see the benefits?

Carolyn T Lye, Howard P Forman, Jodi G Daniel, Harlan M Krumholz

PMID: 30184156

PMCID: PMC7646899

DOI: 10.1093/jamia/ocy065

“While federal regulation provides patients the right to access their electronic health records and promotes increased use of health information technology, patient access to electronic health records remains limited. The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law over a year ago, has important provisions that could significantly improve access and availability of health data. Specifically, the provisions call for partnerships among health information exchange networks, educational and research initiatives, and health information technology certification requirements that encourage interoperability. The article reviews the potential benefits and concerns regarding implementation of these provisions, particularly the difficulty of aligning incentives and requirements for data sharing and the question of whether currently proposed rules and guidance will support the goal of improved patient access and health information exchange. Researchers, clinicians, and patients have the power to advocate for improved patient access and interoperability as policy development and implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act continues."


US policy requires immediate release of records to patients

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 18 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n426

Liz Salmi et al.

Correspondence to: L Salmi

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): The original message included the full text of the BMJ editorial, but this is copyright-protected so I have selected extracts below. The full text is freely available here: ]

Patients and clinicians should embrace the opportunities

On 5 April a new federal rule will require US healthcare providers to give patients access to all the health information in their electronic medical records without charge. This new information sharing rule from the 21st Century Cures Act of 20162 mandates rapid, full access to test results, medication lists, referral information, and clinical notes in electronic formats, on request...

Studies show that patients who read what is written about them by clinicians feel more involved in and knowledgeable about their care, feel better prepared for visits, and report being more likely to follow their clinicians’ advice.9 These results are consistent across ethnic groups, gender, socioeconomic status, and education, and the same benefits accrue to family caregivers...'


HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT