“If we don't get past this concern about privacy and security, it will stop us in our tracks,” said Holt Anderson, executive director of the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance and a member of NeHC's board of directors, in a NeHC news briefing today at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Orlando, Fla. Although no specific strategies for allaying these fears were discussed at the briefing, Anderson and other panelists at the briefing said collaboration and communication within the healthcare community and with consumers themselves is vital.
“Probably the most important thing that we and others can do is educate the public about health information exchange” and the benefits of participating in it rather than opting out, said NeHC board member Michael Lardiere, consumer representative for NeHC and director of health information technology and senior adviser for behavioral health with the National Association of Community Health Centers. “There is a balance that we need to strike between data liquidity and patient privacy.”
The survey also asked participants to identify their top health information exchange concerns. Again, privacy and security led all other responses, with 31% naming it their primary concern. Adoption and use of information exchanges followed at 17%, with sustainability issues (14%), interoperability (10%) and patient consent (9%) rounding out the top five concerns.
The National eHealth Collaborative is a not-for-profit public-private partnership created to encourage health information exchange to improve healthcare. Through a cooperative agreement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, it provides technical, operational and logistical support to the committee that administers the Nationwide Health Information Network, according to the organization's website.