Accessing your own health data free of cost will soon become a reality as Federal health regulators proposed major regulations coinciding with HIMSS 2019. Information related to insurance claims, hospital and doctor records will be available for patients on their smartphones once the policy comes into effect.

“Patients have really lost in the system,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Today, instead of filing cabinets and paper silos, we now have electronic silos that make it difficult for patients to access their own health data.”

The rule, when it comes into effect, will be helpful for patients who want to electronically access information from the healthcare providers’s EHR (Electronic Helath Record) systems. This information can include details such as doctor notes, reports, and historical medical data. The patient will not be charged for these records.

“The rule really is, OK, let’s figure out how to get this information out technically and let’s force it out,” Don Rucker, the national coordinator for health information technology in the Department of Health and Human Services, told WSJ.

In recent times, hospitals have caught on the digital transformation train and started offering online patient portals. These portals however, redact critical information such as imaging scans and doctor notes. This new draft policy aims to make the process and information sharing more transparent.

“It’s very hard for individuals to get their health information today,” Deven McGraw, a former federal official told WSJ, despite existing laws that protects such access.

Companies like Apple have already started building tools which can store personal health information in real-time and this draft policy is expected to bring health data to our digital devices. Claims data, including the cost of services will also be opened for access by patients.

Since the regulations will make it mandatory for the hospitals to follow the guidelines to participate in the Medicare program, the healthcare providers might finally have to be fully transparent and make critical information available to the patients on-demand.