HHS launches HIT security education site for docs

February 27, 2009
Brandon Glenn
Brandon Glenn

The federal government is backing a new pilot website that aims to ease doctors' concerns about security and privacy when sharing health information electronically.

The federal government is backing a new pilot website that aims to ease doctors’ concerns about security and privacy when sharing health information electronically.

The site, Secure4Health.org, is open for registration to physicians from eight states – Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wyoming, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The site offers physicians education resources about electronic health information exchange, a list of frequently asked questions on the subject, and the opportunity to earn Continuing Medical Education credits.

“The best thing this could accomplish is to raise the consciousness and awareness of physicians in medical practices about the importance of protecting privacy and making health information secure,” says David Kibbe, MD, a technology adviser to the American Academy of Family Physicians and one of two prominent “physician champions” of the project. (The other is Kentucky Lieutenant Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, MD, a surgeon.)

“Patients are beginning to expect their physicians to send information electronically to other physicians,” Kibbe says.

The site went live last month and about 1,200 physicians have registered, according to a counter on the home page. The project’s organizers have no specific goal in mind for the number of users they hope register on the site, a spokeswoman for the project says.

The project’s backers hope that the site is eventually opened up to doctors across the nation, but it’ll need more federal funding for that to happen, the spokeswoman says. The pilot is scheduled to end in March.