The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has subcontracted with RTI International to address privacy and security issues affecting the exchange of electronic health information. Known as eHealth, the secure sharing of health information electronically is safer for patients, improves patient care and should reduce health care costs. eHealth is an important advancement in healthcare. "Compared to a paper system, sharing health information electronically is safer for patients and the gains in efficiency are expected to reduce health care costs," says Barry Nangle, director of the Center for Health Data at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).
"We are taking advantage of every opportunity available to promote eHealth in Utah," said Dr. David N. Sundwall, executive director, UDOH. Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. designated the UDOH as the lead agency in this project. The public-private sector steering committee for the Utah project is the Utah Digital Health Services Commission, whose members are appointed by the Governor. Leading the stakeholder discussions will be HealthInsight, a non-profit quality improvement organization. "The health field needs to catch up when it comes to exchanging information electronically, and developing sound, uniform practices for preserving the privacy and security of health information is a prerequisite for moving eHealth forward."
How to get involved
Between now and March 2007, the UDOH will convene stakeholders throughout the health care industry in Utah to describe variations in information privacy and security practices that affect the sharing of information electronically to improve patient care. Contact the UNIFY-PS project coordinator for information.