Privacy, security constant themes in DeSalvo's 2014 agenda

What's vital for 2014 on National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo's agenda?

Privacy and security, she told HealthcareInfoSecurity in a recent interview.

"We consider privacy and security an important part of the work that we do," DeSalvo said. "It's increasingly complex as we think through care models, mobile health, e-health, telehealth and the broader issues of big data and how we make certain that people's health information is first and foremost there to improve their care wherever they are ... but, as they desire, is also available [for research] to help advance the health system and population health overall."

DeSalvo briefly discussed the White House's big data projects, such as President Obama's BRAIN initiative. A government report is being prepared on "some of the next steps that the federal government thinks we should undertake," according to DeSalvo.

She added that patient-generated data must be adequately protected.

At HIMSS 2014, DeSalvo answered questions from reporters in a brief session after her keynote. In regard to patient-generated data and its efficacy, safety and use, DeSalvo recalled her days as a physician, saying her patients would bring logs of their self-care in spiral-bound notebooks to appointments. But with technology, there are provenance issues--questions of where the data comes from and whether it is accurate. 

She pointed to the Veterans Administration as a model for using patient-generated data and highlighting outlier data. "Having lots of data is great, what you need is information that's actionable," she said.

Discussing her recent announcement about unveiling "less siloed" ONC workgroups, DeSalvo said that it's necessary to do so "to make certain we're ahead of where the field is going."

Four workgroups proposed by DeSalvo in a presentation to the committee would focus on:

  • Health IT strategic planning
  • Advanced health models and Meaningful Use
  • Health IT implementation, usability and safety
  • Interoperability and health information exchange

Privacy and security and consumer engagement workgroups will continue operation, according to DeSalvo, who said discussions will take place in more of an overlapping, matrix-like manner.

To learn more:
- listen to the full interview with Healthcare Info Security

Related Articles:
DeSalvo unveils plan to transition ONC to 'less siloed' workgroups
'Next chapter' of ONC's work to focus on population health management, DeSalvo says
Karen DeSalvo: 5 necessities to reach interoperability
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