This year, it seems, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is taking a more subtle approach to lobbying for privacy and security regulation.
During its annual Health IT Week lobbying push earlier this month, HIMSS presented just three "asks" to Congress. Two dealt with privacy and security issues.
One asked legislators to study patient identification. A two-page letter from HIMSS spent a lot of verbiage discussing the history of a national patient identifier and how Congress has, since 1999, banned federal funds from being used to "promulgate or adopt" one.
Nonetheless, HIMSS is looking for wiggle room.
Its statement pondered whether studying a patient identifier is verboten, then postulated that a "lack of clear congressional intent . . . poses a huge impediment to the optimal adoption of health information exchange."
That's a slight softening of focus. In 2006, HIMSS and another organization it helped create, the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, pushed for a national patient identifier.
In another "ask" this year, HIMSS is lobbying Congress to support "harmonization" of federal and state privacy laws—again, an apparent softening of its position.