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    Modern Healthcare: HHS releases final Health IT Strategic plan for 2011-15

    Modern Healthcare reports on new moves by the Department of Health and Human Services concerning patient privacy:

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS has released an 80-page final version of its Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan for 2011-2015.

    The latest version replaces a draft put up for public comment in March.

    One new wrinkle in the final document comes under the third of five major policy goals, to “Inspire Confidence and Trust in Health IT” by “protecting the privacy and security of healthcare information and ensuring the safe use of health technology.”

    The plan calls for an elaborate process involving entities outside of HHS and its Office for Civil Rights to “resolve federal policy direction” on a “first set of privacy and security issues by the end of 2011.” The civil rights office oversees privacy and security enforcement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and has been the lead agency in drafting federal healthcare IT privacy and security rules. […]

    The ONC will funnel to the HHS task force past privacy policy work, including the Fair Information Practice Principles, or FIPPs, developed by HHS in the 1970s; ONC’s own 2008 “Nationwide Privacy and Security Framework for Electronic Exchange of Individually Identifiable Health Information,” which was based on four of those five principles—patient control over the secondary use of their information, one of the FIPPs, was not included in the framework; and work by ONC’s HIT Policy and Standards Committees.

    ONC also will then gather “broader federal feedback through the Federal IT Task Force,” a group formed by President Obama in February 2010 (PDF), and includes representatives from HHS, the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture, plus the Social Security Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

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