HITSP defines healthcare security and privacy standards

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The Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) has identified a set of standards to help keep patient medical information secure in an electronic environment.

The newly defined set of standards, referred to as the "security and privacy constructs," were approved by HITSP on Oct. 15.

The constructs address common data protection issues in a broad range of subject areas, including electronic delivery of lab results to a clinician, medication workflow for providers and patients, quality and consumer empowerment, according to HITSP.

"Privacy and security are fundamental to health information exchange," said John Halamka, MD, HITSP chair, chief information officer and associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. "At HITSP, we will be incorporating all of these security standards into our past, present and future interoperability specifications."

The standards developed by HITSP are designed to ensure that medical information will be used by authorized personnel solely for official purposes and are expected to help improve coordinated quality care, reduce errors and control unnecessary costs, Halamka said.