The following guest post by Ruby Raley, Director of Healthcare Solutions, Axway
The healthcare industry is incented to adopt EMR/EHR systems by the HITECH Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. HITECH offers funding to incent providers to use EMRs/EHRs in ways meaningful to the improvement of patient health by 2015. To fulfill their potential to improve quality and control the cost of healthcare, EMRs/EHRs must transmit and receive patient data securely across the healthcare team.
According to preliminary results of a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of December 2010, only 10 percent of office-based physicians used a fully functional EMR/EHR system. The HITECH incentives are expected to increase this percentage rapidly. As more and more health information is put into electronic form and shared across the healthcare system, the risk and impact of a security breach become more significant.
In order to prepare for HITECH compliance in 2011, steps must be taken to strengthen safeguards for EMRs/EHRs and enable secure messaging of this valuable data. Below are five tips to help healthcare facilities prepare for HITECH regulations by ensuring secure messaging.
- Content Filtering – Get to know the new regulations that will impact email, including HIPAA and state/provincial privacy laws
- Secure Protected Health Information (PHI) in Motion and at Rest – Centrally define, manage and enforce policies that control the flow of information to secure data in motion and secure PHI while it is at rest on a server by using encryption technology
- Demonstrate Stage 1 “meaningful use” in 2011– Use managed file transfer to ensure secure exchange of large files to meet Stage 1 “meaningful use” requirements, which focus on electronically capturing health information in a coded format
- Message Delivery Tracking – Enlist web-based tracking and attachment tracking to provide peace of mind for the sender
- Allow External Users to Send Secure Messages – Utilize a web-based mail composition (rather than HTTPS) and eliminate complicated key exchange
By crafting appropriate secure messaging policy and creating an atmosphere for proper compliance, healthcare facilities can ensure they are on the right path to meeting the requirements of the HITECH Act. The above tips can assist in the deployment of secure messaging solution that can be configured to fully meet them and ensure regulatory compliance.
As director of healthcare solutions at Axway, Ruby Raley partners with prospects, customers and the Axway team to develop solution strategies and business cases for pharmaceutical distribution, life sciences and care providers.