ONC privacy-security 'tiger team' ponders whether HIEs should view records

With so much uncertainty about privacy and security of electronic exchange of patient records, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently formed a "tiger team" to identify policies and technical fixes that could be implemented to help assuage fears.

Made up of members of the privacy and security workgroups of the Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee, the tiger team got down to business at its first meeting, examining whether HIEs and similar providers of health information services should be allowed to view records in transit across their networks. If so, to what extent should employees of such providers be allowed to view records and how can they give patients the right to opt out of electronic sharing of their health information?

The team didn't reach any conclusions at the first meeting, but, according to a Government Health IT report, some members were surprised to hear that the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, which operates the well-established Indiana Health Information Exchange, already looks at all records it transmits. The Regenstrief representative promised to provide the tiger team with more details for future consideration.

ONC officials want the team to wrap up its work by late fall. The federal EMR incentive program begins Oct. 1 for hospitals and Jan. 1 for physicians.

To learn more:
- check out this Government Health IT story