Latest News On Privacy

Latest California Healthline Stories

Spotlight on New PHR Model Privacy Notice

To help address consumer privacy concerns, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released a Personal Health Record Model Privacy Notice that allows providers of Web-based PHRs to inform consumers about their data sharing and privacy and security policies.

EHR Security Measure Might Have Hidden Consequences

The intent of SB 850 is relatively simple, its author Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said yesterday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“Specifically, the bill requires the electronic health record to log a change or deletion, and that change or deletion note needs to include the identity of whoever made the change,” Leno said, adding “Without these requirements and protections, there could be real concern for the well-being of the patient.”

Changes to an EHR can go unnoticed and can be harder to trace than changes made to paper records, according to Leno.

Driver’s License Numbers Among Lost Records

The California Department of Public Health has never had the kind of loss of medical records that it had yesterday, according to Kevin Reilly, Chief Deputy for Policy and Programs at CDPH.

“We’ve had much smaller instances where a laptop was stolen,” Reilly said. “But nothing like this.”

A magnetic tape was mailed to the Capitol from West Covina (near Los Angeles), but when it arrived in Sacramento, it was just an empty envelope.

HHS Issues Rule Aligning HITECH Privacy Language With HIPAA

Hoping to beef up its enforcement of already-existing privacy laws covering health information, the federal government published a rule that aligns HIPAA provisions with new, more stringent regulations in the federal stimulus package.

Health IT Initiatives Less Likely To Be Hijacked, Officials Say

Health IT systems are less susceptible to the kind of hijacking that put San Francisco’s computer systems in limbo for nine days last month, according to health officials. Security regulations in HIPAA guard against it, they say.

California Researchers Say New VA Policy Hurts Cancer Studies

The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains that new restrictions on cancer data are intended to shore up patient privacy protections. Researchers argue that the rules will stymie data collection efforts in California, the source of about half of cases reported to a U.S. registry.

VA Data Theft Raises Privacy Questions

The recent theft of millions of veterans’ and military personnel’s records has drawn attention to security practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as efforts begin to determine the extent of the potential damage and how they can prevent future incidents.