45 CFR § 171.205 - Health IT performance exception - When will an actor's practice that is implemented to maintain or improve health IT performance and that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information not be considered information blocking?

prev next
§ 171.205 Health IT performance exception - When will an actor's practice that is implemented to maintain or improve health IT performance and that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information not be considered information blocking?

An actor's practice that is implemented to maintain or improve health IT performance and that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information will not be considered information blocking when the practice meets a condition in paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section, as applicable to the particular practice and the reason for its implementation.

(a) Maintenance and improvements to health IT. When an actor implements a practice that makes health IT under that actor's control temporarily unavailable, or temporarily degrades the performance of health IT, in order to perform maintenance or improvements to the health IT, the actor's practice must be -

(1) Implemented for a period of time no longer than necessary to complete the maintenance or improvements for which the health IT was made unavailable or the health IT's performance degraded;

(2) Implemented in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner; and

(3) If the unavailability or degradation is initiated by a health IT developer of certified health IT, health information exchange, or health information network:

(i) Planned. Consistent with existing service level agreements between the individual or entity to whom the health IT developer of certified health IT, health information exchange, or health information network supplied the health IT; or

(ii) Unplanned. Consistent with existing service level agreements between the individual or entity; or agreed to by the individual or entity to whom the health IT developer of certified health IT, health information exchange, or health information network supplied the health IT.

(b) Assured level of performance. An actor may take action against a third-party application that is negatively impacting the health IT's performance, provided that the practice is -

(1) For a period of time no longer than necessary to resolve any negative impacts;

(2) Implemented in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner; and

(3) Consistent with existing service level agreements, where applicable.

(c) Practices that prevent harm. If the unavailability of health IT for maintenance or improvements is initiated by an actor in response to a risk of harm to a patient or another person, the actor does not need to satisfy the requirements of this section, but must comply with all requirements of § 171.201 at all relevant times to qualify for an exception.

(d) Security-related practices. If the unavailability of health IT for maintenance or improvements is initiated by an actor in response to a security risk to electronic health information, the actor does not need to satisfy the requirements of this section, but must comply with all requirements of § 171.203 at all relevant times to qualify for an exception.