The process of enhancing information privacy when dealing with electronic health information has been challenging to most healthcare organizations. Remarkably, healthcare organizations are tasked with responsibilities of collecting, storing and securing patient data. Moreover, there is need to guard data and integrity of organizations that exchange information across technology systems. In responding to challenges of handling data in the information age, state and federal governments have sought to collaborate to support the healthcare system in addressing concerns presented by information technology usage. In North Carolina, the collaboration between the state and federal government is guided by the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA). This is a nonprofit agency with more than 220 organizations established to improve healthcare by supporting and enhancing the adoption of information technology. The existing collaboration in North Carolina is Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration which has created standards and guidelines to manage access and sharing of information.
North Carolina currently participates in Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC). This is multi-state collaboration meant to address security challenges arising from use of information technology. In North Carolina, HISPC seeks to assess the variation between organizations with regard policies that affect the use of information technology in healthcare. Moreover, HISPC consistently identify and propose solutions to problems affecting patient security with the state. This collaboration also seeks to reduce legal challenges to timely information access and dissemination. The collaboration between state and federal government through HISPC has been endorsed by healthcare stakeholders because of initially statewide campaigns with regard to privacy and security programs. In addition, the state has consistently promoted HISPC by actively involving residents through workshops, town meeting and public communication.
The collaboration is important because it harmonizes provisions relating to patient consent before disclosure. Therefore, HISPC support a multifaceted approach towards obtaining and managing information pertaining to patients. As a result, the approach advocated for by HISPC focuses on capturing consent data elements as determined by local laws and policies. According to Braunstein (2014), obtaining patient consent is critical to keep patient data safe and secure from any unauthorized access by third parties. Moreover, the collaboration is important because it assists medical organizations to develop authentication and authorization guidelines to deal with security problems presented during system shifts. This has helped in solving the mistrust problem that has been encountered as organizations electronically exchange health information. North Carolina had been facing challenges with regard to data addresses of patients. For instance, healthcare administrators have inappropriately used and disclosed information about wrong patients thereby posing privacy risk. As a consequence, this collaboration has created standards that govern linking of data to right persons within healthcare databases to eliminate inappropriate information usage.
In conclusion, the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC) has been instrumental in assisting organizations navigate through myriad state and federal privacy laws and policies. The collaboration has been instrumental in restoring trust between healthcare organizations and patients because of guaranteed privacy and security of data. Consequently, effective management of information has restored trust in capability of entities to protect and secure data from inappropriate use or authorized access. Through HISPC, organizations have been able to design privacy and security policies that guide data management in healthcare facilities. Going forward, HISPC will continue to assist the healthcare facilities in North Carolina utilizing information technology to enhance service provision. This has been achieved by supporting the creation of inter-operable systems allowing parties to share and exchange information between them.
Braunstein, M. L. (2014). Contemporary health informatics. Chicago, IL: American Health
Information Management Association. ISBN: 9781584260318.