eHealth report finally out, privacy forum tomorrow

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The long awaited report by DPH to assess CT’s health information technology landscape and develop a plan was released Friday. The 170 page report finds that eHealth activities in CT are fragmented and that CT is not yet prepared to take advantage of the opportunities. Recommendations include creating/anointing an official RHIO (regional health information organization) to herd the cats, devoting sufficient resources to the effort, and hiring grown-ups to run it. The report highlights eHealthConnecticut as the “most developed RHIO in the state . . . that represents virtually all healthcare constituencies across the state.”

The report devotes a great deal of attention to the importance of engaging consumers in development and oversight of all health information policymaking and implementation. It also highlights the importance of strong privacy and security policies and an inclusive process to develop them.

“Consumers and consumer representation organizations are as eager to discuss their desire for health IT/HIE to make improvements in quality of care and overall health as they are to reveal their fears and concerns. Consumers should be consistently and proactively engaged relative to their perspectives on health IT/HIE.”

eHealthConnecticut, AARP and the CT Health Policy Project have been leading just such a process in creating policies for a pilot Medicaid health information exchange scheduled to begin operation this fall. Our second consumer input forum to share policy drafts developed by a broad stakeholder working group is being held tomorrow, July 20th, at 10am in Room 1C of the Legislative Office Building. The working group includes consumer advocates, legal aid, providers, and state agencies, with legal and technical privacy experts. There will be on-line opportunities to comment on the policies as well.
Ellen Andrews