Health Information Management

Plan for the future and trust that your revamped policies are sound

HIM-HIPAA Insider, June 9, 2009

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As technology grows, evolves, and spawns newer versions of itself, security and privacy challenges promise to become even worse. Now factor in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and President Obama’s long-term goal of establishing electronic health records for all Americans by 2014.

"The security and privacy challenges can be overwhelming," says Brian Tretick, executive director of Ernst & Young’s IT Enablement Center in McLean, VA.

How can providers ultimately feel confident that their patients’ PHI, stored here and transmitted there, is 100% safe? They can’t and never will, says Tretick.

"The HITECH Act is going to force [providers] to put a huge dose of energy into their processes," he says.

That’s where salvation lies, says Tretick. Designing a framework of ironclad policies and procedures is top priority. And once you’ve accomplished that with confidence, there is no reason to sweat the new technologies coming down the road because you will have done everything you can to build a strong, protective wall.

Editor’s note: To read more about privacy and security challenges or to purchase a copy of this article for $10, visit the HCPro Web site. Subscribers to Briefings on HIPAA can access this article in the June issue of the newsletter.



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