NewsFlash – 07/26/2010

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This episode is on health IT safety and security.  The Center at Bowling Green notified over 5,000 patients that there was a breach of their personal health information due to a stolen computer.  Iron Mountain made recommendations that CMS  expand its proposed ruels for the ‘meaningful use’ of EHRs.  Another company, FairWarning has developed guidlines that will help detect and prevent breaches of patient information in healthcare. 

Category: NewsFlash
Date: July 26, 2010
Views:5,976 views

Hello, I’m Dawn DiPaola, and today I will be discussing current news in regards to Health IT safety and security. This is a chief concern among IT professionals, the government, patients and providers.

Concerns about EHR safety and security have escalated after reports of serious security breaches. The Medical Center at Bowling Green is notifying 5,418 patients of a potential breach of their personal health information after a computer was stolen from the hospital’s mammography unit. This computer contained data on patients who had bone density testing at the Medical Center between 1997 and 2009. Unfortunately, the medical information on the computer’s hard drive was not encrypted. The hospital is now taking steps to strengthen the security of patient information. While there is no evidence that any patient’s personal health information has been used maliciously, the hospital is urging affected patients to monitor their credit and financial accounts.

With such concerns about the protection of health information, Iron mountain, an information management services company, called upon CMS to expand its proposed rules for the ‘meaningful use’ of EHRs. Iron Mountain made recommendations that CMS expand providers’ eligibility to receive federal subsidies for digitizing paper records and cleaning patient databases. These key steps to EHR implementation are currently missing from the proposed meaningful use criteria.The first steps of scanning paper records and cleaning patient databases are critical to successful EHR implementation. Furthermore, taking these steps lowers storage costs for the organization and provides caregivers with faster, more accurate access to a patient's complete medical history and records.

Another company, FairWarning, has developed data definition guides that will help detect and prevent breaches of patient information in healthcare. The company offers a cross-platform healthcare privacy auditing for EHRs. It has already provided privacy, auditing, and monitoring solutions in more than 300 hospitals and 1,200 clinics in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The FairWarning Patient Privacy Framework is a series of three documents that help hospital CIOs, IT managers, and other employees implement wide-scale patient privacy auditing, breach detection, remediation, and breach prevention.

It will be critical for hospitals and physicians’ offices to be up-to-date with the most recent requirements and standards for the safety and security of electronic health information. Hopefully breaches such as the one at BowlingGreen will bring attention to the issue and need for medical facilities to take the appropriate actions to prevent breaches in the future.

I’m Dawn DePaola, and this is EHRtv NewsFlash. Thanks for watching.

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