Park: Better Patient Engagement Will Boost Overall Health System

During an address at the Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park emphasized the importance of patients’ engagement in their own health care, FierceHealthIT reports.

Details of Park’s Comments

Park said, “Patient engagement — to quote Leonard Kish — might be the blockbuster drug of the 21st century,” adding, “This will vastly improve our health care system.”

He said, “From the very top of government, we’re incredibly serious about making sure patients can get a copy of their own records.”

Park noted that more than 88 million Americans to date have used the online Blue Button tool, which allows patients to download their own health records. That number is expected to reach 115 million by the end of the year, he said.

The importance of health IT adoption–from a parent’s perspective

Patient access and engagement have been on my brain of late. Sure, that has a lot to do with the fact I attended both Health Datapalooza and the Health Privacy Summit last week in Washington, D.C.–but it’s also due to a recent personal experience.

It took place a few weeks ago when I brought my child into the pediatrician for an on-again, off-again rash. After conversing with the doctor about the best plan of attack, I was told to take pictures the next time the rash appeared, to better help with diagnosis.

When I asked if the office had any sort of HIPAA compliant tools that would allow me to send such pictures electronically to the practice without having to set up another appointment, I was told it did not. When I asked about a patient portal for viewing records, the answer was the same.

I was disappointed, to say the least.

Health leaders: Increase data use to improve patient care

Day 2 of the 2013 Health Privacy Summit Thursday felt timely as news broke of the National Security Administration using a program called PRISM to extract user data from major tech companies like Google and Facebook. Healthcare technology has its own extensive security problems while the industry starts to understand the value of big data, and an expert panel offered their views at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.

In the day’s first panel discussion, “The Value of Health Data Inside Healthcare,” David Chao, Chief Technology Officer at the Washington, D.C.-based Advisory Board, said that the status quo in healthcare delivery today is not acceptable.”It’s obvious to everyone,” Chao said. “We need to improve outcomes.”

Anil Jain, Chief Medical Information Officer of Explorys, a secure software platform that allows healthcare systems to aggregate and manage big data, called the “transformation gap” in healthcare real. Data, Jain said, happens to be the way doctors and CIOs get transparency on what’s really happening.

Todd Park: Patient engagement will ‘vastly’ improve healthcare

Addressing a packed room at the Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., this week, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park emphasized the importance of federal efforts to engage patients in their own healthcare.

“We’re in the middle of a huge cultural shift to get patients access to their records,” Park said. “Patient engagement–to quote Leonard Kish–may be the blockbuster drug of the 21st Century. This will vastly improve our healthcare system.”

Park, who previously served as CTO for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, spoke at length about the evolution of the Blue Button, which gives patients easy access to their medical records. He said that more than 88 million Americans now have access to their data via Blue Button, a number that is expected to grow to 115 million by the end of the year. More than one million people, to date have downloaded their data via Blue Button, he said.

Privacy experts: Health data security efforts too reactive

Privacy experts spoke about their data breach experiences Thursday at the Healthcare Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., agreeing that what they’ve experienced likely is just the beginning for what’s possible in security fissures at healthcare organizations.

Omar Khawaja, a global project manager for Verizon, noted that 61 percent of breaches his group finds are for payment card information, and pointed out that the reactive system presently in place for combating such breaches is problematic.

“What does 911 look like in cyberspace? Who do you call when you have a breach?” Khawaja asked. “It takes months just to contain the breach.”

Bill Turner, Chief Privacy and Security Officer of Brookfield, Wis.-based Allium Healthcare, a technology consulting and staffing firm, said that most of the privacy errors he sees stem from human error. Turner recalled a story about a hospital having in its records that he had passed away, when it was really a man listed above him in the hospital’s logs.

Panel: Big data’s role in healthcare remains unclear

Big data is an enigma when it comes to healthcare, as described by a panel on Wednesday at the third annual Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Patient Privacy Rights. On one hand, according to Deloitte principal Deborah Golden, there are infinite positive possibilities for big data use, such as improving patient safety via openly available medication information.

On the other hand, according to Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney, big data also represents big privacy issues.

“A lot of our problems come from giving data away,” Sweeney said.

Much of the conversation focused on those problems, particularly as they related to data being used without patient consent–or knowledge that they gave consent.

“In the U.S., we tend to take a sector-specific approach to privacy regulation,” David Jacobs, an attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said. “We’re nowhere near where we should be as far as consumer access to their own medical information to find out where it does and to exercise control over it.”

Sign the Petition for Patient-Controlled Exchange of Health Information

Sign the petition asking Congress to put you in control of exchanging your sensitive health data via Health Data Exchanges (HIEs)!

Sign the petition here.

By the end of the year, every state must have one or more Health Information Exchange (HIEs) so your health data can be transferred to other doctors, the state, the federal government, insurers, technology companies, researchers, commercial users, and many other institutions.

Today those institutions and organizations decide when and to whom to transfer your health data—not you.

KEY PRINCIPLES FOR DATA EXCHANGE USING HIEs:

• You should control whether or not your health information is exchanged.

• You should have full access to electronic copies of all your health information.

• You should know what information the HIE exchanges, stores or collects, with whom your data is shared, and the purpose for using it.

View and sign the petition asking Congress to strengthen the law so Americans can trust electronic health systems and data exchanges.

States’ Hospital Data for Sale Puts Privacy in Jeopardy

TODAY: watch Prof Sweeney and Jordan Robertson present their research on how easily patients could be re-identified patients from hospital data sold by the state of Washington —at the 3rd International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy in Washington, DC. Register to watch free at: www.healthprivacysummit.org.
Every state sells or gives away sensitive hospital data without regard to how easily it can be re-identified and sold, not just Washington. The buyers may want to sell you something or use your records for employment background checks. Health data is easily available for hidden discrimination.

The solution is all users of personal health data should have to ask first.

States’ Hospital Data for Sale Puts Privacy in Jeopardy

Before speaking at the 3rd Annual Summit on the Future of Health Privacy, Jordan Robertson did extensive research with Latanya Sweeney, PhD and theDataMap.org team to expose a nationwide privacy problem. MANY states are selling de-identified hospital records, which can be easily re-identified by using your local newspaper. Using other publicly available information makes re-identification even easier.

From Jordan Robertson’s article in Bloomberg News: States’ Hospital Data for Sale Puts Privacy in Jeopardy

Hospitals in the U.S. pledge to keep a patient’s health background confidential. Yet states from Washington to New York are putting privacy at risk by selling records that can be used to link a person’s identity to medical conditions using public information.

Consider Ray Boylston, who went into diabetic shock while riding his motorcycle in rural Washington in 2011. He careened off the road and was thrown into the woods, an accident that was covered only briefly, in the local newspaper. Boylston disclosed his medical condition and history to a handful of loved ones and the hospital that treated him.

After Boylston’s discharge, Washington collected the paperwork of his week-long stay from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and added it to a database of 650,000 hospitalizations for 2011 available for sale to researchers, companies and other members of the public. The data was supposed to remain anonymous. Yet because of state exemption from federal regulations governing discharge information, Boylston could be identified and his medical background exposed using only publicly available information.

UofL professor wins health information privacy award

Patient Privacy Rights, a leading health privacy advocacy organization, will award one of its two annual Louis D. Brandeis Privacy Awards to University of Louisville professor Mark A. Rothstein on June 5 in conjunction with the Third International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.

Established in 2012, the award is given with the approval of the Brandeis family and recognizes significant intellectual, cultural, legal, scholarly, and technical contributions to the field of health information privacy.

Rothstein holds the Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine, and he also teaches at UofL’s Brandeis School of Law. The award’s ties to Brandeis make it especially meaningful to him, he said.