HITSP work group provides panel with update

A federally funded committee seeking to harmonize healthcare information technology standards received an update from its new security and privacy work group Monday. In so doing, the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel took stock of the chicken-or-egg situation now faced by the government in its efforts to promote IT: Which comes first, the privacy protection policy or the privacy protection IT standards?
Johnathan Coleman of Security Risk Solutions, a contractor for the HITSP security and privacy work group, gave the update near the close of a daylong meeting of the panel in Washington. The American National Standards Institute, an accreditation body for standards development organizations, created HITSP in 2005 under a $3.3 million HHS contract.
The goal of the new work group, which first met Jan. 4, is to advise HITSP on ways to harmonize data transmission with “relevant security and privacy standards, including the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) security and privacy rules and basic consents, where appropriate,” according to an overview document presented during the meeting.
Among the 69 work group members listed on the ANSI Web site are representatives from McKesson Corp., a pharmaceutical wholesaler and IT systems vendor; Cerner Corp. and IBM among several IT systems and services vendors; RxHub, an IT services provider for the two largest pharmacy benefits managers; the Albertsons drug-store chain; WellPoint, the insurance giant; the Liberty Alliance, a consortium of global telecommunications, financial services, Internet and IT companies; a handful of government organizations such as the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and two provider organizations, the Veterans Affairs Department and Kaiser Permanente.
{The industry dominated Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) continues to press forward setting up standards for electronic health data transfers that violate stronger state laws, Constitutional law, common law, the physician-patient privilege, and ethical principles that require patient consent before any data is shared. Instead, the HITSP workgroup on Security and Privacy should make setting standards that do not violate privacy rights its highest priority. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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