Providers, states still struggle with HIPAA

Though it's been more than 10 years since HIPAA took effect, providers and state officials are still grappling with its implications, a fact which became clear when participants in a federally-funded privacy research group met last week. The Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration, which was funded by a $17.23 million contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, includes representatives from 33 states. The group was tasked with identifying best privacy protection practices, as well as to find ways to square away differences in state laws and business practices which would hinder national health information sharing.

However, it appears that they haven't gotten too far as of yet. For example, states taking part in the group are still handling the issue of patient consent for medical information sharing differently. Minnesota has some of the nation's toughest privacy protections under its interpretation of HIPAA, while Wisconsin is looking to relax its less-stringent rules. The two are still interested in exchanging electronic health information across each other's borders, but it should prove a challenge given their diverging practices.

To learn more about the privacy issue:
- read this Modern Healthcare article