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Blumenthal Talks Health IT Security

National health information technology coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal gave an interview with Information Week Healthcare to discuss, among other topics, the importance of keeping data safe from cyber threats.

“The HITECH act enacted a whole series of provisions to tighten the privacy and security laws under HIPAA,” said Blumenthal. “The Office of Civil Rights has already issued an interim final rule on breach notification that requires the notification of patients or other individuals whose data is breached.”

Blumenthal also noted an increase in heat on healthcare providers who lose personal health data or are raided due to a failure to comply or negligence in meeting regulations.

“There’s also a series of much harsher penalties for breaches due to negligence. There are a series of restrictions on the use of patient information for the marketing of products, for fundraising, or for other uses they haven’t given permission for. These will begin to give the public some insight into what we’re doing.

Blumenthal also noted a considerable amount of contact with the White House concerning cyber safety.

“Beyond that we’ve begun working with (White House cyber coordinator Howard Schmidt) to make healthcare a model program to tighten security of information in general,” he said. “We’re looking top to bottom at the security standards and technologies available to providers to protect health information.”

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