HHS Committee Sanctions Health IT Security Proposal

Anthony Guerra reports that there was heated debate at the meeting this week over recommendations generated by the IT Policy Committee’s “tiger team” on privacy and security:

Devan McGraw and Paul Egerman, chair and co-chair, respectively, of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health IT Policy Committee’s privacy and security team, entered the full committee’s August meeting looking for approval of the letter and recommendations they put together over the summer. And while they got that approval in the end, it was only after more than 30 minutes of contentious debate, led on the other side by Neal Calman, MD, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health.

Read more of his coverage of the debate on InformationWeek.

One of the heated issues concerned a take it or leave it position offered by Dr. Halman, whereby if a patient doesn’t like a practitioner’s use of their information or sharing policies, they could just go find another practitioner. Given how many people live in rural areas where such options may not exist, I think his idea is self-serving and offensive. He doesn’t want to be burdened by allowing patients to opt-out? Whose data are they, anyway?

Thankfully, he did not prevail on that or the recommendations would have been even weaker on privacy than I think they should be.

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