The Leading Trends in Health Information Privacy for the New Year

With the dawn of 2011, new trends are emerging with respect to healthcare privacy and the use of technology. Medical and healthcare experts predict that with the advent of huge patient information databases and digital files, the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI) will be increasingly at risk. Illegal access to information, violation of privacy laws and identity theft are the some of the projected threats. The healthcare industry is shifting towards electronic health records and many in the industry feel that the technology, which is being managed by new organizations and inexperienced workers, may lead to a major security and privacy concern.  As a result, an increase in fines and regulations is expected by authorities and regulatory agencies. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights is preparing for audits in order to increase the accountability of healthcare organizations.

Mobile healthcare records will also create even more complex issues. As such, the penalties for negligence towards information security and data breaches will drastically increase.

2011 is the year when policy makers, governing authorities and healthcare providers will realize that PHI is difficult to secure in the digital age. Since a basic right of every individual is to be able to keep their PHI private, if the healthcare industry cannot guarantee privacy, a great public backlash may occur.

As a result of increased security risks, the focus of the industry is shifting towards the “meaningful use” of EMRs as defined by the ONC. “Meaningful use” refers to the proper use and safe exchange of patient records in an optimum and ethical manner.  To learn more about “meaningful use”