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Chroniques de santé : Intimité - pas simplement un autre mot

February 05, 2011
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

With digitization comes the ability to easily copy, transfer, and access large amounts of information cheaply, which makes privacy difficult. In contrast, digitization provides the ability to restrict access to only those with valid need for access, definitively track who accesses a record and record what information is reviewed.

Facilitate technology use
Successful workflows incorporating information technology to facilitate patient care while protecting patient privacy also leverage technologies encouraging the frequent, consistent, and efficient use of workflow. These technologies include those that make access to health information technology tools easy and efficient such as biometric user authentication, single sign-on, and roaming virtual desktops.

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Benefits to data exchange
Facilitating the exchange of patient information among providers works to improve quality and safety of patient care and reduce costs. Although it is true that we have not yet achieved anywhere near the benefits we envision from this exchange, brilliant and dedicated informaticists, clinicians, and process engineers are working on the problems and achieving incremental improvements.

With all of the benefits offered by electronic patient data comes the risk of inappropriate and exploitive use. The privacy rules developed from the HITECH legislation must protect patients from unwanted marketing of products and services targeting brought about from their own medical data. In addition, severe financial and criminal penalties must be established and levied for the violation of the privacy of patient data to encourage payers, providers, benefits managers, and other commercial entities to protect and properly use patient data. Only with strictly enforced privacy rules can health care information technology provide the quality, safety, and costs benefits expected from its deployment.

Dr. Barry P. Chaiken is the chief medical officer of Imprivata, a provider of an authentication and access management solution for simplifying password management and securing user access to patient health information.

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