States make progress in privacy of electronic HIEs

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Most states have made progress in establishing privacy and security for electronic health information exchange (HIE) over the past year and a half, according to a report released by Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The agencies conducted the study during the past 18 months, of 33 states and Puerto Rico have addressed the variation in business practices, policies and state laws that affect the electronic exchange of health information.

The report is the seventh progress report for states participating in the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC), part of the federal Privacy and Security Solutions Project.

Among the evidence that progress has occurred:

  • 23 states have cited increased awareness of privacy and security issues among stakeholders;
  • 14 states have indicated the project has increased support for HIE;
  • 11 states reported legislative activity on privacy, with four sates passing laws;
  • Three governors have issued orders formalizing support for the HISPC; and
  • Seven collaborative work groups, involving 43 states and two territories, are working on sharing privacy and security solutions.

"The report released is evidence of the significant role and impact that states and territories can have in advancing health information technology while preserving and promoting privacy and security protections," said Robert Kolodner, MD, national coordinator for ONCHIT. "The broad participation of stakeholders at all levels in the HISPC has provided each participating state and territory with the foundation, awareness and buy-in to develop comprehensive plans to protect health information in an electronic environment."