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Mythbusters (Security vs. Standards)

Posted Jan 20 2010 8:38pm

Yes…..its been a few weeks since my last post. I totally shut it down over the holidays and enjoyed ample amounts of family time and even learning a few things in the process. My kids love the show “Mythbusters” and while skeptical at first I now believe these guys can debunk almost any myth and the one that is under my skin at the moment is Security vs. Standards.

A recent InformationWeek story highlights that in a move to streamline medical records, Medicare officials have detailed plans to standardize medical files so they can be stored and delivered in comprehensive electronic files. Announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the proposed standards are aimed at helping release $19 billion in federal stimulus funds. The standards are expected to be developed over a period of several months.

Information Week Story: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222100334

The program is designed to coax the medical establishment to move away from paper files and to pave the way for currently incompatible files to be accessible in standard formats. There is widespread belief that standardized electronic medical files will improve medical delivery to patients and cut costs as well. A recent study of Healthcare executives carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers found they believe the information contained in electronic medical records will become the heath care industry’s most valuable asset, once the data becomes accessible.

Frankly with all this I agree however I cannot understand why more folks are not talking about the security beaches that have been rampant with both internal and external firms converting our paper based health records to electronic form. At HDS we are working with our customers daily to help them create the most secure data environments imaginable and actively participate with:

* U.S. cyber security standards - ANSI/INCITS CS1
* World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) - Key Web standards
* IT Security Techniques - ISO/IEC JTC1 SC27
* SCSI and Object-based Storage (OSD) security - ANSI/INCITS T10
* Security standards for U.S. Government - NIST/CSD Computer Security Resource Center

and many others as well that are too numerous to list. It may not really be a “chicken and egg” problem but I bet once we starting getting more serious about data security in Healthcare we will have created a more fertile environment for EHR data standards to grow and flourish.

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