ONC's Savage outlines privacy goals for year ahead

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will be setting its sights in 2016 on security issues in the healthcare industry, according to the agency's chief privacy official.

ONC's final 10-year interoperability roadmap features many goals when it comes to keeping data secure, and the agency is starting to act on that vision, ONC chief privacy officer Lucia Savage says in an interview with HealthcareInfoSecurity.

The agency wants to re-engage with work it started "a while ago," including on HIPAA and patient opt-in/opt-out processes.

For the former, the agency will look to remind healthcare players that HIPAA sets a national baseline for privacy; some states have specialized privacy laws boasting more protections.

"Those laws are really important because they were designed primarily to protect people from the adverse consequences of different kinds of health statuses" like HIV/AIDs, Savage said.

That's a topic Savage has touched on before. In April she said that regarding regulations through HIPAA and HITECH, ONC has done "great housekeeping," but also stressed that more work is needed to advance HIT while simultaneously supporting protections enacted by the states.

Savage also told HealthcareInfoSecurity that ONC wants to educate people and prevent them from declining to have their data exchanged because of security concerns.

To learn more:
- listen to the interview