HHS, VA Demo EHR Info Sharing Standards; Joy Pritts Comments

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The department of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs tested standards for sharing of sensitive health information between healthcare providers, in line with laws governing the use of electronic health records.

HHS said this demonstration was a segment of the Data Segmentation for Privacy Initiative, assembled as a response for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Joy Pritts, chief privacy officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, said the goal of the project was to show how existing privacy laws and policies work in an electronic environment.

During the demonstration, HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the VA sent a patient’s record for his substance abuse treatment into another EHR system after confirming the patient’s consent for transfer.

According to HHS, the test also showed how sensitive information can be labeled so the receiving party can identify if further permission from the patient is required to disclose his case to other people.

In April, the department outlined several EHR initiatives to test data capture and patient access to their information.

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