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Slides and video of yesterday’s webinar on patient privacy protection in health information exchange are online. The webinar included Ted Kremer of the Rochester RHIO and Steve Allen of Steve of Western NY Health e Net. Both RHIOs, like the rest of all New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts exchanges operate on an opt-in privacy policy – consumers must affirmatively consent before any medical information about them is shared on the system. Both exchanges have secured consent from hundreds of thousands of patients, Rochester RHIO has consented over one third of the entire population in the area, and both have tens of thousands of new consents coming in each month. In Rochester between 97 and 98% of patients sign consent forms; Western NY’s rate is 94%. Both exchanges made the very respectful decision not to incorporate their form into a HIPAA form to ensure that patients are really making informed consent decisions – they aren’t trying to sneak anything by consumers. Both have undertaken successful, grassroots public education campaigns by engaging community groups and trusted organizations; patients now ask for a consent form at their provider visits if they aren’t offered one. A poll found that 83% of the public supports the exchange but only 37% support others viewing their information without consent. CT is now developing a health information exchange and the General Assembly is considering legislation to require an opt-in policy like NY’s and all of our surrounding states. For more about privacy concerns in CT’s health information exchanges, go to our privacy webpage.
Ellen Andrews