More oversight on its way for healthcare data

Healthcare, just like every other industry, has become increasingly reliant on digital data to keep operations running smoothly. As a result, healthcare providers now need to put more onus on ensuring that patient information remains safe and secure.

We trust doctors and other medical professionals to protect our bodies from disease, but can we trust healthcare providers to protect our personal information? Healthcare, just like every other industry, has become increasingly reliant on digital data to keep operations running smoothly. As a result, healthcare providers now need to put more onus on ensuring that patient information remains safe and secure.

To help make it a little bit easier for healthcare providers, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) on October 1 issued a call saying they want to move forward with a system that will standardize how healthcare professionals in the United States deal with electronic health records (EHRs). The organization hopes that, by November, either AHIMA or the U.S. government will draft a national set of guidelines will be drafted, Healthcare IT News reported.

“Unified data governance principles will help promote accuracy and consistency and reduce ambiguity,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, according to Healthcare IT News. “AHIMA stands ready to work with … [various] groups to establish the guidelines that will accurately and fairly represent performance and outcomes of care. Data governance and data integrity have been and will be a critical part of AHIMA’s strategic plan, and we will continue to lead the discussions and the solutions developed in this field.”

Health IT and nursing homes
Recently, the U.S. government has shifted some of its focus toward improving health IT for elder care. InformationWeek Healthcare reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are giving out grants to organizations that are pioneering new ways of using electronic solutions to provide better healthcare outcomes.

Seven organizations received grant money to work with 145 nursing facilities in order to look at ways in which electronic record-keeping can ensure that patients stay healthy and that healthcare providers have an easier time securely communicating with one another. According to InformationWeek, one of the current issues with elder care in the U.S. is that disparate technology makes information sharing more difficult. This has led to little data exchange between hospitals and post-care facilities. Of course, any system that makes it easier for organizations to share patient information also needs to ensure that sensitive data is transmitted and stored securely.

“We view this initiative and the enhanced level of collaboration it will generate among a variety of providers as the key to reducing costly and avoidable hospitalizations for this population that often has the most complex health care needs,” acting CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.

In what ways do think EHR record-keeping could be improved to make it easier for providers while also keeping it safe? Leave your comments below to let us know what you think about these issues!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.