Medical Companies Form Group To Protect Electronic Health Records

A consortium of nine companies in the health-care industry are banding together to create a set of security practices to better protect the information in electronic medical records.

The companies, including hospital-chain HCA Inc., and medical-insurance providers Humana Inc. and Highmark Inc., have committed to use the security practices, which they will develop along with Health Information Trust Alliance LLC, or Hitrust, a Frisco, Texas-based organization created to oversee the project. Hitrust says it has received applications from more than 40 companies hoping to participate and its goal is to have 155 participants by the end of February. The companies hope to complete the security standards by the end of 2008.

“The industry has come to recognize that the current model for security isn’t working,” says Daniel Nutkis, Hitrust’s chief executive. These standards will make it possible for companies to “trust the people accessing their systems,” he says.

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