With the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy standards now in place, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) expresses its support for these new federal regulations that protect the personal health information of every American.
HIMSS, with its long history of leadership in the healthcare information technology (IT) industry, also believes that a proactive stance in the formation of public policy activities can result in improvements in how information technology supports the delivery of healthcare in the United States. As a result, HIMSS has formed a Privacy and Security Task Force to help its members and the industry more effectively manage privacy and security issues and thus, deliver quality patient care.
The task force provides guidance for HIMSS’ activities related to the privacy and security of healthcare information, systems and technologies. Ted Cooper, M.D. and national director of confidentiality and security for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, chairs the task force. “The recently published final HIPAA Privacy and Security Standards create major challenges for health plans, providers and clearinghouses,” said Dr. Cooper. “The HIMSS Privacy and Security Task Force will assist HIMSS members by developing information on sound privacy and security practices for the health care industry and identifying and developing tools that will assist HIMSS members select and implement appropriate measures to provide the needed privacy and security.”
One of the 17-member group’s first assignments will be to review and enhance the “CPRI Toolkit: Managing Information Security in Health” on the HIMSS Web site. The toolkit is designed to foster understanding of healthcare information privacy and security. A targeted, hands-on resource, the toolkit also helps HIMSS members address and more easily comply with the privacy regulations and the forthcoming HIPAA security standards, scheduled to take effect April 2005. In addition, the Privacy and Security Task Force will provide guidance for developing HIMSS’ position on the HIPAA enforcement rule recently proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This rule, which establishes the procedures and related penalties for entities that violate the HIPAA standard, will be reviewed by the task force members who bring expertise in the multiple aspects of privacy and security relative to the delivery of healthcare.
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