Privacy and security challenges are among the key obstacles to achieving electronic health records interoperability and nationwide secure exchange of health information, according to a new report. But a federal official tells a Senate committee efforts are underway to overcome the challenges.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights should take 10 steps to strengthen its oversight of HIPAA Privacy Rule compliance as well as improve followup activities on reported data breaches, a government watchdog agency concludes in two new reports.
It's been two years since enforcement of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule's modified breach notification requirements began. But the most significant changes in the federal tally of major health data breaches since then appear to have more to do with a surge in hacker activity than the new requirements under HIPAA Omnibus.
Federal regulators have issued a final version of a strategic health IT plan for 2015 to 2020 designed to help guide government activities. But some experts say the plan is thin on privacy and security measures, such as the need to update HIPAA to address evolving cyber threats.
As federal HIPAA enforcers increasingly scrutinize business associate compliance, BAs need to be paying close attention to the details of settlements that federal regulators are signing with covered entities for HIPAA non-compliance cases and data breaches, says privacy attorney Adam Greene.
Adjusting risk management strategies in the aftermath of the newly discovered hacker attack on Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, as well as other recent massive cyber-attacks, will be among the hot topics discussed at the Healthcare Information Security Summit in San Francisco on Sept. 17.
To prepare for next year's resumption of HIPAA compliance audits, organizations must be ready to demonstrate how they're complying with the revised breach notification rule and how they're providing patients with electronic access to records, says attorney David Holtzman.
If there's one thing federal regulators want to drill into the heads of covered entities and business associates about data breach prevention, it's this: Stop procrastinating, and conduct a risk analysis and encrypt most of your computing devices right away.
In her first interview since joining the HHS Office for Civil Rights as deputy director of health information privacy, Deven McGraw describes plans to relaunch HIPAA compliance audits next year and outlines other priorities.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights is getting closer to resuming the HIPAA compliance audit program, says OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels. Plus, OCR has completed another major breach-related settlement, and it's firming up plans for several new compliance-related initiatives.
A controversy over the University of Oregon's handling of a student's mental health records is building momentum for reforms in a regulation that allows schools to use, and in some cases disclose, certain education records of students without their consent.
What do federal regulators have to say about the current state of health data security and privacy? And what are the top priorities of the new federal point person for HIPAA enforcement? Find out by following our coverage of an HHS/NIST security conference this week.
In preparing business associate agreements, healthcare organizations should demand a right-to-audit clause and copies of vendors' current security policies as proof that the companies are taking appropriate measures to protect patient data, says security expert Rebecca Herold.
One of the most difficult challenges in protecting sensitive patient data that's used in medical research is educating researchers and other clinicians who share that data about potential privacy issues, says Dave Summitt of Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida.
Did Massachusetts' first registered medical marijuana dispensary break federal or state privacy regulations by accidentally sharing patients' email addresses? Experts explain that ... well, the answer is a little hazy.