Friday, July 14, 2006

Update on West Virginia's Participation in Health Information Security & Privacy Collaborative Project

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to participate in the Legal Working Group of the Health Information Security & Privacy Collaborative (HISPC) being co-managed by the West Virginia Health Care Authority and West Virginia Medical Institute.

Following is an AP press release on the current status of the grant project in West Virginia which involves looking at the current barriers in West Virginia (legal, practical and otherwise) faced by health care providers as they work to move toward an interoperable health information system. Similar projects are occuring in various states and all of the information will then be combined to get a national perspective on the barriers.

The following article has appeared in Modern Healthcare and the local newspapers. It is my understanding that a more detailed article will appear in the State Journal in the coming weeks. For more information on the project you can check out WVMI HISPC website.
W.Va. agencies seek to protect privacy on state network
Being able to access personal medical information electronically might sound a little scary to some patients and healthcare providers. That's why the West Virginia Health Care Authority and the West Virginia Medical Institute are being asked to review existing privacy and security policies and regulations and business practices within the healthcare industry.

The agencies will be consulting with members of the medical community and consumers, trying to figure out how to protect patient confidentiality as they prepare to launch a statewide network containing medical histories, test results and other medical information.

With a patient's consent, that information would be electronically available to any medical provider in the state. In addition to creating the public-private network, a new state law passed earlier this year would allow secure electronic consultations between doctors and patients.

The West Virginia authority will be appointing a board of directors later this summer to plan and implement the statewide network.

Last month, West Virginia University Hospital and University Health Associates signed a contract for a $40 million information technology system that streamlines record-keeping and record-sharing at the Physicians Office Center, WVU Cheat Lake Physicians office and the WVU Harpers Ferry Family Medicine Center. It also consolidates several systems at Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Children's Hospital and Chestnut Ridge Hospital.

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