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New revisions as states reconsider patient information security

July 23, 2013
Healthcare IT By LW Consulting Inc.

It can be a difficult line to walk between the convenience (and necessity) of accessing patient data quickly on a large scale and the potential to lose that information to unsavory outside sources. Because different areas of the country have their own regulations regarding how such private records are handled, healthcare IT consulting can still provide some help in understanding what measures need to be taken.

The effort made by seven states, including Massachusetts and California, to investigate their current means of gathering health information, has come in an attempt to put a better focus on databases that leave patient records more difficult to identify while staying within HIPAA compliance, according to Bloomberg.

A concern appears to be that some electronic records can be sold and then used to identify patients, despite measures taken to remain anonymous. More than half of the states in the U.S. are reportedly taking part in this activity, and the information for certain patients can be obtained from the government for a $50 payment, according to TheDataMap, an information tracking project.

TheDataMap also quotes a report conducted by its founder, Latanya Sweeney, that out of 81 different cases in 2011, more than 40 percent could have been used to violate patient anonymity through cross-referencing or other means.

There are many reasons why security around health information should be upheld, but practices in certain states might not see them immediately. This is all the more reason to investigate the possibility of implementing safety checks, and healthcare IT consulting services can assist greatly in this process.