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HHS on health care disparities; CDT on PHR; E-Health Policy in NYS program

HHS has released a new report on health care disparities in America. Pulling together with many grassroots and community representatives who shared yesterday (1) important information and experiences about the nature of health care disparities which exist in our current health care system, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius participated in a White House Health Care Stakeholder Discussion on the importance of reform that reduces such disparities and works towards health equity.Throughout the discussion, participants voiced concerns about the existence of and need to fill many voids in 'data collection' in order to support better health policy decisions and overall the health reform initiative.

On another note, below are excerpts from a public policy briefing developed by CDT (2) on the subject of PHR.(3)

Personal health records (PHRs) — records that are managed, controlled, and shared by individuals rather than their healthcare providers—hold the potential to transform healthcare by empowering consumers and patients to become key, informed decision-makers in their own care. These records increase individual control over personal data and permit individuals to record, store, and share relevant health information, including data that may be missing from official medical records, such as pain thresholds in performing various daily activities, details on the side effects of medication, and daily nutrition and exercise logs.
However, the public will be reluctant to use PHRs without reasonable privacy and security measures in place to protect their data. To date, no comprehensive set of privacy and security rules effectively governs PHRs. Congress has taken a step toward addressing this problem as part of the recent economic stimulus legislation: [HHS] and [FTC]are tasked with drafting joint recommendations regarding PHR privacy and security requirements by February 18, 2010 for those records not covered under the privacy and security regulations of HIPAA. In addition, PHR vendors are covered by new federal requirements that they notify individuals in the event of a breach of health data. However, more action is needed to build public trust in PHRs.
In this policy post, CDT advocates for the adoption of consistent policies to govern all PHRs. CDT also identifies the deficiencies of the current HIPAA Privacy Rule as applied to PHRs and offers some recommendations for establishing privacy and security protections for these tools.

(2)The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public interest organization focusing on communications media.

EVENT NOTE: THE HEALTH LAW SECTION'S SPECIAL COMMITTEE, E-HEALTH & INFO SYSTEMS, Chaired by Raul Tabora, Jr., presents on JUNE 18 2009 some of the practical issues affecting health info technology in New York State. Anna Colello, Esq. will moderate, NYS Office for Technology and DOH initiatives presented by Susan Beaudoin, Esq, GC (OFT ) and Dr. Patricia Hale, Deputy Director (OHITT at DOH)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 10, 2009 7:12 AM.

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