Privacy issues were big again this week as the changes in HIPAA notices starting up next week. Healthcare IT News reports that medical identity theft is on the rise, while Fierce EMR reminds us that if patients don't trust the storage of their electronic data, they might not share all the data that could help diagnose and treat them better.
This week's Clinical Documentation News Roundup offers you the latest news on HIPPA and other patient privacy issues.
- ONC, OCR Publish Model Privacy Notices from Healthcare IT News: "With the deadline for the HIPAA Omnibus Rule less than a week away, the Office of the National Coordinator and the HHS Office for Civil Rights are giving a hand to providers and payers, issuing examples of the notices of privacy practices that must be furnished to patients and plan members under the law. Developed by ONC and OCR with input from consumers and other stakeholders, the model notices come in three basic formats and are customizable for particular organizations. Covered entities can enter their own specific information into these templates, officials say, and then print and post to their websites. The privacy notices are available in the form of a booklet; as a layered notice with a summary of the information on the first page and full content on the following pages or a notice with the design elements of the booklet, but that is formatted for full-page presentation. Additionally, a text-only version is available for covered entities who only wish to use the content."
- Medical Identity Theft Hits Growth Phase from Healthcare IT News: "Medical identity theft is on the rise and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down anytime soon, according to a new report. Conducted by privacy and security research firm Ponemon Institute, the report underscores the serious nature of medical identity theft, which has seen a nearly 20 percent uptick in the number of victims just from last year alone. Some 1.84 million people in the U.S. are currently affected by medical identity theft, with these victims handing over more than $12 billion in out-of-pocket costs and paying, on average, $18,660 per individual, according to survey findings. 'One of the more serious aspects of medical identity theft, unlike traditional financial identity theft crime, is that in the extreme, this could lead to your death,' said Ponemon Chairman and Founder Larry Ponemon, in an interview with Healthcare IT News. 'Because your medical file could change on blood type, on allergy, on previous procedures.'"
- Pairing Patient Privacy With Health Big Data Analytics from Health IT Security: "Health privacy and security are often mentioned in tandem, but Deborah Peel, Founder and Chair of Patient Privacy Rights and Adrian Gropper, Chief Technology Officer of Patient Privacy Rights, took a different view in a recent Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) webcast. The presentation, titled 'Competing for Patient Trust and Data Privacy in the Age of Big Data' detailed a few of the nuances between patient data privacy and security and why privacy is so significant as healthcare organizations pull together huge data sets for health information exchange (HIE) and accountable care. Peel and Gropper said that while HIPAA is a good baseline, for privacy purposes, healthcare organizations should focus on FIPPS when working with large quantities of patient data."
- HHS Touts HIPAA Right to Patient Data Access from Mobi Health News: "Humetrix’s iBlueButton app won the ONC’s Blue Button Mashup Challenge in January. With new, tougher HIPAA privacy regulations set to take effect in less than a week, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces the rules, is trying to educate consumers and healthcare entities alike about a longstanding but much-ignored policy. 'There is a clear right [in the HIPAA privacy rule] not only of patient access, but patient control over everything in their records,' OCR Director Leon Rodriguez said Monday. He said this was a 'revelation' even to some HIPAA enforcement officers. Meantime, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is preparing its own outreach campaign to encourage patients to download their own medical records through the Blue Button Plus initiative. 'Your providers are required to give you your record in electronic form if that’s how it’s maintained,' Rodriguez said at the ONC Consumer Health IT Summit at HHS headquarters in Washington, to kick off the annual National Health IT Week."
- Trust Must Be Mutual for Patient Engagement to Work from Fierce EMR: “Simply telling patients to trust that their electronic data will be well taken care of doesn't mean it's true. And patients, understandably, are wary. A recent study in the Journal of the American Informatics Association reports that nearly one in eight patients has withheld information from their healthcare providers due to security concerns. Moreover, most of the respondents were very concerned about the security of their information when it was being shared electronically or by fax. Just last week, advocacy organization Patient Privacy Rights sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services urging the agency to improve privacy protections of patients' electronic health records, particularly in the cloud and in HIEs."
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