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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new online source of information about patients' rights to withhold or allow their health information to be exchanged electronically with other providers.
The rapid growth of electronic health information exchange (eHIE) means you’ll probably be asking your patients more frequently to consent to sharing their health information with other providers. With that in mind, the government has launched a new Web site to help you inform your patients about their rights when it comes to eHIE.
The Web site, called Meaningful Consent, includes links to materials designed to educate patients about their rights and choices for releasing their health information, such as an “eConsent tool kit” and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Notice of Privacy Practices Project. The site also has a section on the use of technology to capture and maintain patient consent decisions, identify which portions of patient information are restricted from access, and how to communicate these restrictions with others electronically.
“As patients become more engaged in their healthcare, it’s vitally important that they understand more about various aspects of their choices when it relates to sharing their health information in the electronic health information exchange environment,” said Joy Pritts, JD, chief privacy officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
The Meaningful Consent site builds on recommendations from ONC’s Health Information Technology Policy Committee that called on ONC to inform, collect, and evaluate the information patients require to make an informed choice about eHIE.
The ability to send and receive health data electronically is among the core requirements for complying with stage 2 of the Meaningful Use incentive program. Specifically, physicians must: