'Next Generation' of Privacy Needed for Health Information Technology<br /> Comprehensive Framework of Privacy Protections Needed
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2009
Washington - The Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology today released a major policy paper calling for the adoption of "next generation" privacy policies to be built into the nation's rapidly advancing health information technology system. The recently passed stimulus package included $20 billion to help jumpstart and build out a nationwide health IT network and took several steps toward addressing the public's privacy concerns.
The HPP paper, titled "Privacy As An Enabler, Not An Impediment: Building Trust Into Health Information Exchange," is published in the current issue of Health Affairs, the nation's foremost journal on health policy. This issue is devoted to health IT and includes articles from key stakeholders involved in the implementation of nationwide health IT system.
"Although some persist in positioning privacy as an obstacle to achieving the promise of health IT, it is clear the opposite is true: enhanced privacy and security will build the public trust and confidence that are critical to the rapid adoption and implementation of health IT," said HPP Project Director Deven McGraw.
HPP's paper makes a number of recommendations that were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the so-called economic stimulus plan. Those recommendations include:
- Improved enforcement of HIPAA by ensuring that all those in the traditional health care system who access, use and disclose personal health information can be held accountable for compliance with the rules;
- Tightened rules against use of information for marketing purposes;
- Ensuring that individuals can easily and cheaply get electronic copies of their health information
"Those provisions take concrete steps toward establishing the common framework of protections needed to build public trust in health IT," said CDT President Leslie Harris. "Appropriate implementation of these provisions will be critical as we move into health reform," Harris said. "Ensuring that these provisions remain strong during the regulatory process is the critical next step."