The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on May 23, 2006 that 22 states have signed contracts to work as part of the national Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC) to address privacy and security policy questions affecting interoperable health information exchange (HIE). In total, 34 states and territories will participate in the project. RTI International, Inc. (RTI) is working in partnership with the National Governors Association to oversee HISPC.
In Iowa the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care (IFMC) was designated by the Governor's Office as the lead agency for the project and will coordinate the efforts of an interdisciplinary team that will report findings to RTI. IFMC began working on the 11-month project at the end of May.
IFMC and its partners will work with state officials, health care professionals, patients, businesses, the legal community and other stakeholders to: identify variations in privacy and security business practices, laws and regulations affecting electronic clinical HIE; develop best practices and proposed solutions to address identified challenges; and develop implementation plans for the proposed solutions.
RTI's contract is jointly funded and managed through HHS' Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
How to get involved
Opportunities for involvement include:
Participate in project workgroup(s):
- Variations Working Group: Assess variations in organization-level business policies and practices and categorize them as barriers, best practices, or neutral with respect to electronic health information exchange. Work with Legal Working Group to identify legal drivers behind the policies and produce an interim assessment of variation report.
- Legal Working Group: Assess applicable privacy and security policies underlying regulations, court cases, etc. and identify legal sources of barriers to electronic health information exchange. Review barriers uncovered in the variation assessment and map the barriers to applicable state privacy andsecurity laws. Work with the Solutions and Implementation Plan Working Groups to propose solutions to identified barriers.
- Solutions Working Group: Review the assessment of state laws and business policies identified as barriers by the Variations Working Group and formulate preliminary solutions to the barriers. Draft a preliminary set of proposed solutions.
- Implementation Plan Working Group: Review proposed solutions and develop preliminary implementation plans to implement recommended actions.
- Consumer Focus Working Group: Facilitate consumer focus groups to gain a full understanding of consumer perceptions in Iowa related to privacy, security and electronic exchange of personal health information. Findings will be shared with the Solutions and Implementation Plan Working Groups to develop solutions and implementation plans.
The expected timeframes and levels of commitment vary by workgroup. For more information please contact HISPC project staff at IFMC.
Provide public feedback on project deliverables, findings and recommendations:
Iowa project documents (deliverables, findings, proposed solutions, etc.) developed during the project can be reviewed and commented on through a designated web portal during periods of public comment. Instructions and timeframes for public comment can be obtained from HISPC project staff at IFMC.
Stakeholders in Iowa who are interested in project involvement should contact Sherry Grund, HISPC Project Director, or Susan Brown, HISPC Coordinator, at the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care (see contact information below).