Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radiology and the HIPAA/HITECH Privacy and Security Rule

An instructive article on Radiology and the HIPAA privacy rule was recently published by The American Roentgen Ray Society.

“There is an unchallenged view that patient privacy is extremely important," says Garry Choy, MD, radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. So, radiologists must understand the implications of the HIPAA privacy rules for their practices even though IT administrators have primary responsibility.
"Our duty is to serve our patients, and in addition to our role in using our diagnostic skills to help our patients, we must also protect their best interests, as well as their medical history, diagnoses, and other clinical data." - Garry Choy, MD, radiologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
According to Choy, protecting electronics health records was accomplished by making sure “All our systems have information technology features such as password protection, firewalls, audit trails, and record-access tracking.” Janice Honeyman-Buck, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Digital Imaging, adds that these healthcare it security measures are also critical for identifying breaches in electronic health records.
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“The main reason we need to protect patient privacy is that it’s the law,” says Honeyman-Buck. Violations of health care compliance can result in civil, criminal, and malpractice lawsuits, as well as regulatory fines.
If I were caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to do, I would be fired in minutes,” - Janice Honeyman-Buck, Imaging Informatics Consultant
About the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRA)
The American Roentgen Ray Society, founded in 1900, is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States. The society is dedicated to the goal of the advancement of medicine through the science of radiology and its allied sciences. The ARRS publishes the American Journal of Roentgenology and the quarterly ARRS InPractice magazine.

Sources:
(a) Who’s Guarding the Data? Radiologists must properly protect patient images—or risk losing their jobs. - InPractice - Quarterly Publication of the American Roentgen Ray Society, Winter 2011 • Volume 5 Issue 1

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