The Ultimate Medical Privacy Guide: 100 Tools and Resources to Secure Your Health Records

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Have you heard the positive points about putting your health records online? Or, like many, are you concerned about security and privacy issues about using your credit card online, let alone adding your health records to a Web-based program? If you stand in either camp, you’re not alone. But, even online health record advocates are leery about security.

With that fear in mind, the following list contains 100 tools and resources you can use to make an informed decision about this issue. Health records have, historically, been protected by regulations that protect the patient’s privacy. An online venue, on the other hand, requires different measures to secure sensitive information. So, we’ve included links to opinions about health record security, tools that will help you understand new regulations and technology that centers on health industry security, blogs that focus on frequently updated news about this movement, and background information on eHealth, Health 2.0 and law support for various health issues.

The information below is numbered, but that does not mean we value one source over another. All links, except the “Opinions” listed immediately below, are listed in alphabetical order beneath their headings.

Opinions

If you’re informed on the issue about moving patient records to an online venue, then the articles listed below may seem like old hat. However, since these articles are dated for 2008, you’ll see that the debate about security and privacy continues. The articles listed below include pros and cons, information for the uneducated, and points to consider if you’re concerned about the ability to use online health records and the security of those health records:

  1. Cutting to chase of Personal Health Record debate: Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet argues that doctor resistance over online personal health records (PHRs) centers around their loss of control; See also: Even young doctors paralyzed by health record debate, where the same author states that, “I think a lot of EHR [Electronic Health Records] outfits are going to go bankrupt before 2009.”
  2. Most Doctors Aren’t Using Electronic Health Records: Steve Lohr at the New York Times notes in June this year notes that “national survey found that electronic records were used in less than 9 percent of small offices with one to three doctors, where nearly half of the country’s doctors practice medicine.”
  3. Web Health Records May Save Time, Money: But Electronic Records’ Use Requires Care and Thought: iStockAnalyst noted in an August editorial that, while “PHRs hold significant promise,” yet they note ongoing questions about security and privacy risks.
  4. PHR Advocates Push for More Privacy, Security Measures: iHealthBeat reports that “companies like Microsoft and Google are not under the purview of HIPAA medical privacy rules, consumer control of PHRs could open up access to patient information and raise the possibility of marketing and false advertising efforts by outside parties.”
  5. Finding a Cure for Data Loss: Jamie Reid at Security Focus states, “personal information databases are tremendously valuable and with that value comes risk that, until very recently, has been ignored.” Although health records aren’t mentioned here, his thoughts and examples of security leaks are relevant to understand any online information risk.
  6. Personal Health Records Online? Just Say No!: Trisha Torrey at About.com states that, “PHRs can’t be private and they can’t be secure, despite what the hosts tell you.” Trisha also hosts the About.com blog on Patient Empowerment, and a personal site for patient advocacy.
  7. Bringing Health Records Online: Catherine Holahan at Business Week‘s TechWeek is positive about the push for online health records. Comments after the article bring up as many interesting points as the actual report.
  8. Heart Scare Prompts Health Care IT Crusade: Alexander Wolfe at InformationWeek uses personal experience to call on a health care IT revolution, including online health records. But, Wolfe notes, “The way things have been set up, legislatively speaking, we’re not properly positioned to do them [online records].”
  9. Web health records may save time, money: The Minnesota-based Star Tribune offers an editorial that states, “PHRs hold allure for providers and patients.” However, this positive outlook on PHRs is tempered by the opinion that – as previously noted – online health records carry risks.
  10. Who’s reading your medical files today?: Sue Blevins at The Christian Science Monitor invokes fear about putting medical records online, especially over vague and somewhat misleading HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – see list below) guidelines. Blevins, president of the The Institute for Health Freedom, lays out some valid points in a very recent article.

HIT

Health Information Technology (HIT) is a new trend that will, eventually, help individuals maintain their health through better management of their health information, both online and ‘in-hand’. HIT is a new field; therefore, it is controversial. HIT has its converts amongst health professionals, but few have yet to adopt the technology that can help individuals through this transition from written to computerized records (see #2 above). Much needs to be done regarding privacy and record safety, but the converts are working to make the transition as smooth as possible on the tech level. The following HIT sites, mainly blogs, represent the tip of the iceberg regarding information about HIT from health care professionals. These writings will help you stay on top of new developments in this field:

  1. Chilmark Research: Chilmark Research is a healthcare industry analyst firm that focuses on the rapid evolution in technology, policy and health consumerism which they feel will culminate in the home being the future center of healthcare.
  2. Future of Health IT: Trends and Scenarios: Commentary on the future of health information technology and its effects on society and culture, especially with respect to the future of biomedical research informatics.
  3. Future Health IT: Colin Jervis helps healthcare and other parts of the public sector in the UK to gain maximum value from their IT investments. Since computerization makes HIT global, news from other countries becomes as important as local issues.
  4. Healthcare IT News: This publication is a foundation for anyone who works in the health care IT field, and it is just one of a handful of publications produced by the Healthcare IT News franchise. You can stay on top of issues, users and institutions that have adopted new technology through this site.
  5. HIT Transition Weblog: This blog is produced by a company that works exclusively in HIT. The publishers also produce HITSync eMagazine. Expect to hear much about HIPAA, as they are experts in this field.
  6. Life as a Healthcare CIO: Dr. Halamka’s life is steeped in health care IT, as he works in businesses that support 3,000 doctors, 18,000 faculty, and three million patients. Follow his experiences with health care IT infrastructure, applications, policies, management and governance.
  7. Medical Connectivity: Although this blog is the principal marketing vehicle for Medical Connectivity Consulting, readers will find various writers who focus on news and opinion regarding health care, medical device connectivity and related issues rather than on the consulting business.
  8. Neil Versel’s Healthcare IT Blog: Versel is an experienced business journalist who focuses on healthcare information technology, including clinical applications, physician practice management, HIPAA regulations (see HIPAA list below) and more.
  9. The Healthcare IT Guy: Shahid N. Shah, the CEO of Netspective Communications, specializes in health care IT, with an emphasis on e-health, EMRs, data integration, and legacy modernization. While you might think his blog would focus solely on IT, you might be surprised to find site reviews, opinion, and talking points on eHealth issues.
  10. The Health Tech Blog: Kevin Peyton is an IT consultant who provides a variety of Web and multimedia services in a variety of settings, including healthcare. This blog is a focus on the latter interest, and it’s one that would interest professionals and nonprofessionals alike.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) became law on April 14, 2003 under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. HIPAA is a means to simplify health care administration to help make health care delivery more efficient through standardization of electronic transmittal of billing and claims information. This standardization increases confidentiality and security of health data, as HIPAA privacy regulations require that access to patient information be limited to only those authorized, and that only the information necessary for a task be available to them. HIPAA provides for a uniform, basic level of security and privacy throughout the country, except in states where laws are stricter than HIPAA laws (although, HIPAA already calls for severe civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance). As with most new regulations, HIPAA rules are not set in stone; periodically, the Department of Health and Human Services will propose changes or issue updates, clarifications, and explanations. The following blogs and Web sites cover these issues and changes within HIPAA law.

  1. Compliance HIPAA: Compliance Home brings a full and fully readable and understandable version of HIPAA to the Web. Don’t neglect links to other HIPAA references to get the full picture.
  2. EMR and HIPAA: Electronic medical records (EMR) are at the heart of HIPAA, and this blog provides an open forum for EMR- and HIPAA-related information. Issues include software, security, statistics and more.
  3. HIPAA: Impacts and Actions by States: The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a page filled with medical record privacy, security and electronic transactions among states. The focus here is on HIPAA.
  4. HIPAA Advisory Committee:
  5. HIPAA Blog: Jeff Drummond is a member of the Dallas Bar Association and immediate past chairman of the Dallas Bar Association’s Health Law Section. His blog provides talking points, reference material, news and even HIPAA jokes. It’s an easy read, chock-full of relevant HIPAA information.
  6. HIPAA Health Law & Technology: Helen Oscislawski, an attorney, provides a legal perspective to HIPAA through her blog. Although based in New Jersey, Oscislawski offers information and news from across the country on the creation, use and exchange of electronic health records (EHR).
  7. Health Hippo: This link will take you to the Health Hippo HIPAA page, where you can find referrals to many other resources on HIPAA (including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). You can use this page for referral when you stumble across a puzzling HIPAA reference. This site is sponsored by FindLaw.
  8. HIPAA News: The great source for current information about HIPAA, HIPAA compliance and the latest HIPAA lawsuits.
  9. National Institutes of Health HIPAA: The HIPAA Privacy Rule is the first comprehensive Federal protection for privacy of personal health information. This site provides readers with information on the Privacy Rule for the research community. If you’re not a researcher, don’t despair – the information on this page, including the links, is informative and helpful to any reader concerned about the Privacy Rule.

CCHIT

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of “robust, interoperable health information technology.” In just three years since its founding, and less than two years since being awarded a contract by ONC/HHS (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology/Hospitals and Health Services), CCHIT has successfully developed and launched standards-based certification of electronic health record (EHR) products for both ambulatory and inpatient care settings. But, this additional certification has created disputes between providers, who often must pay high fees to comply with CCHIT, and this organization. More about this issue and other topics in the following blogs, articles and papers…

  1. CCHIT To Certify PHRs: Health Management Rx offers an opinion about how CCHIT might affect the PHR market. We suggest you follow links in and after the article to learn more.
  2. EHR Decisions: Follow this blog for EHR information and news. EHR Decisions is brought to you by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).
  3. How CCHIT Makes EMR Selection Easy: This article, published by Intellectual Property and Tech Law Reports, does a good job of convincing any reader why CCHIT is good for software selection.
  4. Should CCHIT Influence Your EHR Selection?: Software Advice offers this article, which focuses on businesses that seek software for electronic health record management from vendors. But, it’s an article for the masses, as the author outlines CCHIT specifics and shortfalls in detail.
  5. HIT Certification: CCHIT: You may not want to work toward a certification, but you still might want to visit this link. CCHIT is explained in plain English, and links to other information are voluminous. This is a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services site.

EHR/EMR/PHR Information

The following blogs and Web sites offer more than you probably want to know about electronic health records (EHR), electronic medical records (EMR), personal health records (PHR) and more. Some sites are geared toward professionals, and some speak to the non-professional. But, we feel you can walk away from any given blog, site or article with more information about Web-based health record security, so you can make informed decisions about what you want to do with your health records.

  1. EHR PHR and Patient Portals: Dr. Volpe offers ideas and experiences with Electronic Health Records, Personal Health Records and Patient Portals.
  2. EMR Blog: EHR Scope, a publication that provides extensive information on the EHR/EMR field, publishes the EMR Blog. EHR Scope is a division of EMRConsultant.com, which is part of 1450, Inc., and the blog focuses on implementation of EMR for professionals. However, non-professionals can learn much about how the professional community plans to implement electronic records (using Dragon speech recognition software, for instance).
  3. Electronic Health Record Security: The ICMCC (International Council on Medical & Care Compunetics) workshop focuses on security requirements and solutions for Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. This site contains links to papers and presentations from the most recent conference. You also can use the links at the top of the page to read their blog and gain access to updated news.
  4. emrupdate: EMR Update is a place where anyone interested in electronic medical records can view the latest new, read blogs and join in discussion on forums. According to the site, they offer “unbiased independent EMR discussion and resources.”
  5. Health Populi: Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist and management consultant who has worked with health care stakeholders for over twenty years. Her projects, which are reflected in her blog’s focuses, include strategic and business planning, forecasting and health policy analysis. This blog is appropriate for professionals and non-professionals alike.
  6. How to Choose a Personal Health Record: When a money magazine starts writing about personal health records, it may get your attention. SmartMoney published this article in May 2008, and author Lisa Scherzer looks at various companies and the overall pros and cons about how they work. This is a down-to-earth article that reveals the money side of PHR companies.
  7. MAeHC Blog: MAeHC is a Massachusetts-based organization that is building a community-based strategy for ubiquitous adoption of electronic health records and health information exchange. Although this blog is state-focused, it is a well-respected blog that professionals nationwide are watching for progress in their efforts. Well worth reading for the obstacles and milestones that this group faces in their goal to promote higher quality, safety, efficiency, and affordability of health care.
  8. myPHR: The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is a national non-profit professional association that is dedicated to the effective management of personal health information needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public. This site is a user-friendly site that can help you learn more about PHRs and how they work. They include an essential section on your health information rights.
  9. Patient Centered Health Information Technology (PCHIT): This blog reflects the PCHIT initiative, which is to engage the public in adoption of health information technology (HIT) tools to help the public monitor individual health care. This work is made possible by grants from the California Healthcare Foundation (Oakland, CA), United Hospital Fund (New York, NY), Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, CA), and Group Heath Community Foundation (Seattle, WA), in collaboration with the Center for Information Therapy (Bethesda, MD).
  10. Project HealthDesign: This blog, run by health care IT consultant Lygeia Ricciardi, monitors policy and media happenings that influence the development of consumer-focused IT tools such as personal health records. This blog is intended for anyone who has considered a personal health record option.
  11. Personal Health Record (PHR) Systems: An Evolving Challenge to EHR Systems: This is an article featured in Virtual Medical Worlds online. It defines the difference between PHRs and EHRs and then focuses more on the PHR aspect. While this is a tool to determine how quickly PHRs will be adopted by the general public, it also speaks to the types of records that are used, what needs to be used to make these records work for the patient and doctor. This article leans heavily toward using PHRs.
  12. RPMS Electronic Health Record Website: This is the government’s Indian Health Service’s new Electronic Health Record (EHR). While it focuses on a specific population, this site can guide anyone through what an EHR means, how it works and whether it’s appropriate for you.
  13. The EMR/EHR Show: This blog is all about “getting the most out of your health records software, regardless of its maker or your medical specialty.” Written by a full-time, community based family physician, this blog speaks to health care professionals. But, non-professionals can learn much about how professionals are learning to handle patient records from the information contained on this site.
  14. The Personal Health Records Page: Learn more about PHRs from the World Privacy Forum. They provide basic information and plenty of links to follow to learn more.

Patient Safety, Privacy and Empowerment

Some of the basic points that a patient might remember when dealing with electronic health records include: CPOE (Computerized Physician Order Entry), or whether the doctor enters patient information into a computer program correctly; ICU physician staffing (IPS), and the concern whether intensive care units are staffed by trained ICU specialists; EBHR (Evidence-Based Hospital Referral), or how well hospitals perform high-risk procedures and neonatal conditions; and, Safe Practice Scores (SPS), a Leapfrog (see below) guidelines that ask how well hospitals are progressing on nationally endorsed safe practices. The following list can address these issues and more…

  1. Focus: This site is supported by HVA (Hospital Video Auditing), a 24/7 auditing technology that improves compliance with patient safety and hand washing practices and protocols. While HVA introduces an ongoing system of video-based assessments and reports that are generated daily, weekly and monthly, they also are developing guidelines that help the medical practice perform within patient safety parameters.
  2. Medical Records Privacy: The Center for Democracy and Technology offers this article on privacy for your medical records. They include links to Clinton health care regulations, CDT policy posts and more.
  3. National Institute for Patient Rights: The National Institute for Patient Rights was founded with the sole purpose of helping patients and their advocates protect and promote their rights. The site contains a ton of information about patient advocacy, and the newsletter offers tips such as how patients and their advocates can create their own informal network of embedded laypersons right within the hospital, free of charge. They also sponsor a blog, where you can learn more on an updated basis.
  4. Neil Calman MD: Dr. Calman, a family physician and President/CEO of the Institute for Family Health in New York, writes a blog dedicated to the fight for “social justice, logic, efficiency, quality and compassion in the way health services are delivered, paid for and regulated.” His blog is personal and an interesting read.
  5. Patient Privacy Rights: Patient Privacy Rights is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 by Dr. Deborah Peel. This site is dedicated to ensuring Americans control to all personal health records. This site is geared toward consumers.
  6. Patient Safety Blog: Patrick Malone & Associates publishes this blog, which focuses solely on patient safety. Topics range from accessibility of healthcare to vaccinations, with a good dose of medical record information on board.
  7. PPECA: Partnering for Patient Empowerment through Community Awareness is a collaboration among patient safety advocates, health sciences librarians, health care institutions, and public libraries. The goal is to improve communication among key players regarding patient safety, and to improve consumer awareness about patient safety and health care resources so that patients can feel empowered to accept an active role in health care.
  8. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: This link will take you directly to the page that focuses solely on medical records privacy.
  9. Scientific American: The September 2008 issue focuses solely on online security, including articles about how to protect your genetic privacy, RFID dangers and more. This is a must-read issue for anyone who wants to learn more about where the state of Internet security stands today.
  10. The Leapfrog Group: This group aims to reduce preventable medical mistakes and improve the quality and affordability of health care. They also intend to encourage health providers to publicly report their quality and outcomes so that consumers and purchasing organizations can make informed health care choices from viewing this transparency. This is a voluntary program that addresses professionals and consumers alike.

Health Care Law and Policy Blogs

While these blogs don’t focus specifically on health record security, they focus on health law in general and how it affects what you do with those records and how sharing records online might affect you. Health care law and policy is created both at the national and at the local level. The blogs listed below focus on national issues, including HIPAA, medical law abuse, upcoming legislations, security and privacy issues and more. If you want local policies, search for health care law blogs that focus on your state.

  1. David Harlow’s Health Care Law Blawg (HealthBlawg): Harlow is a health care lawyer and consultant who has over twenty years of public and private sector experience. He focuses on legal, policy and business issues that face the health care community. While the blog appeals to health care providers, vendors and payors, ordinary readers can realize that what affects health care providers also affects patients.
  2. Health Affairs Blog: Health Affairs has been in print for twenty-five years and in online publishing for six, so a natural extension of their health policy debates would be to blog about them. The journal is “all about an ongoing dialogue on health policy issues of concern to a diverse audience of interested readers.”
  3. Health Care Fraud Blog: Robert David Malove, a board-certified criminal trial lawyer, offers a blog that any court-TV lover would love. Fraud, scandal and sentences on health care issues fill the pages in this site, and Malove offers insight into the legislation changes and loopholes that any patient or health care provider might encounter.
  4. Health Care Law Blog: Bob Coffield, a health care lawyer, keeps an eye on health care law with thoughts and comments on the health care industry, privacy, security, technology and “other odds and ends.” His banter is relaxing, and his talking points are relevant to health care providers as well as to patients.
  5. Health Law Blog: Tom Mayo, a law professor, tackles all issues that affect anyone who is interested in health and health care. Topics include HIPAA abuses, Medicaid/Medicare and global health issues.
  6. Health Policy and Communications Blog: Dr. Miller has twelve years in health policy positions in Washington, DC. under his belt, and he shares his expertise as a consultant through his blog. His goal is to foster discussion and analysis about how health policy and communications issues affect clinical and economic outcomes. Providers and patients might be interested in this blog, as “economics” means your pocket, not the pocket of some stranger.
  7. Health Policy Watch: The Century Foundation provides this blog, which seeks to provide experts and non-experts alike with a portal on developing debates on health policy and on ideas for achieving universal coverage. A focus is on the transformation of U.S. health care financing and delivery.
  8. Health Wonk Review: Readers at this blog will find a biweekly compendium of the “best of the health policy blogs.” More than two dozen health policy, infrastructure, insurance, technology, and managed care bloggers participate by contributing their best recent blog postings to a roving digest, with each issue hosted at a different participant’s blog. For participants, it’s a way to network and share ideas, and for those readers who don’t live in this space every day, it’s a way to sample some of the latest thinking and the “best of the best.”
  9. HealthLawProf Blog: Elizabeth Malloy, attorney, brings her insights to the Law Professor Blogs Network. This blog focuses on AIDS, women’s issues, cancer and more. The blog is a great read for anyone curious as to the general overall legal atmosphere in any given field.
  10. Nash on Health Policy: Dr. David Nash is The Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor and Chairman of the Department of Health Policy at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, one of a handful of medical schools in the nation with an endowed professorship in health policy. Although Nash, appropriately, focuses on issues at Jefferson, many blog posts bring an insight into patient safety, EHRs, EMRs and other topics.
  11. Privacy and Security Law Blog: Davis Wright Tremaine, a national law firm, brings a blog that would interest anyone who is concerned about Internet safety and privacy. Topics include blogging, biometrics, legislation at the local and national level, HIPAA, Internet, identity theft, medical records, personal privacy and more. They also host the Technology, eBusiness & Digital Media Law Blog, a site that focuses on many of the same topics, but from more from an Internet user perspective.
  12. Wall Street Journal Health Blog: WSJ offers some of the most interesting writing on health care issues, focusing on policy, law, abuse, political influence and more. If you want to stay on top of the most pressing and relevant national issues, this is where you can start reading.

Specialty Health Law

The blogs listed above consist of general health law and policy blogs. The blogs listed below focus on specific diseases and life situations. These laws and policy issues are different, as they are more focused on a specific population. While not all specialty law and policy blogs focus on eHealth issues or health record security, the trend is changing. The following blogs contain information about sharing information with patients, as well as updates on laws and policies that affect certain diseases, disabilities and health fields. If you want to learn more about specialized health law at the local level, use your search engine to find what you need at the state level.

  1. CAMLaw: This is a Complementary and Alternative Medicine law blog, with a focus on how legislation affects such as chiropractic treatments, Reiki, herbal medicines and more. Michael H. Cohen, Esq., an attorney with a background in alternative and complementary healing, has been rendering legal advice in the area of holistic health, complementary and alternative medicine, and general business to a wide variety of clients since 1999.
  2. Egg Donor and Surrogacy Law Blog: Theresa M. Erickson is one of the few attorneys in the United States who practices exclusively in the area of Family Formation Law. She has donated eggs to several families, and her sister was unable to maintain a successful pregnancy to term. It is through both of these personal experiences that Erickson’s passion developed to become an Embryo Donation Attorney and to inform readers about their rights through her blog.
  3. ElderLawAnswers Blog: Harry Margolis practices elder law with Margolis & Associates in Boston, edits The ElderLawReport and is President of ElderLawAnswers. It’s at the latter site where you can ask and/or find answers to questions about laws that affect the elderly, including health record security.
  4. FDA Law Blog: Jeffrey N. Wasserstein and Kurt R. Karst from Hyman, Phelps and McNamara discuss all points about FDA regulations, guidelines and laws that concern every topic from cosmetics to reimbursement.
  5. Hearing Loss Law: John F. Waldo, an attorney who has a significant hearing loss, publishes this blog, which focuses on legal needs of hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals. He works on access and advocacy issues through the Washington Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP), and represents individuals on issues involving job discrimination, workers’ compensation, education and private insurance matters and reports on news and issues.
  6. Medicare Update: Michael Apolskis, attorney, focuses on Medicare compliance, reimbursement and enforcement matters. While his audience is health care providers, suppliers and companies, any reader can stay abreast of Medicare legislation changes through Apolskis’ updates.
  7. Neuroethics & Law Blog: Professor Adam Kolber has created an interdisciplinary forum for legal and ethical issues related to the mind and brain. This blog is meant to be of interest to bioethicists, legal academics, lawyers, neuroscientists, neurologists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers, criminologists and behavioral economists; however, it is of great interest to those who face health issues in this arena as well.
  8. Nursing Home Law: David Cohen and Brian Murphy are involved with the Personal Injury group of Stark & Stark, a law firm that specializes in nursing home litigation, including negligence and abuse claims, accidents and personal injury.
  9. Nutritional and Dietary Supplement Law Blog: If you have issues or problems with dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, functional foods and the law, then you might be interested in this blog. You can learn more about state laws, FDA news, warnings and more through this site’s commentary and links.
  10. Pharma Law Blog: Dr. Peter Rost, a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as an expert witness, speaker and writer, is the drug industry’s whistle blower. According to Fortune, Dr. Rost “has become the drug industry’s most annoying – and effective – online scourge.” His blog focuses on pharmacy deficits, and this blog’s reader will be met with education as well as entertainment.

eHealth

eHealth was the first bastion to bringing health issues to the Web, and it continues to grow. The PHR, EHR and EMR are a direct outgrowth of this movement. The following blogs, sites and articles will help readers understand more about the eHealth movement, and they also address security and privacy issues.

  1. e-Health Tech: This site’s focus is in “the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies.” The process is through educating patient, caregivers, administrators, and developers about the value of e-Health. Expect advocacy for online interaction and patient involvement.
  2. e-Patients: This site’s tag line is, “because health professionals can’t do it alone.” This site is staffed by health professionals, patients and former patients, and their focus is on enabling individuals with the power to engage in their health and health care decisions. Many topics, including links to articles outside this blog, deal with patient safety, health record management, and engaging the patient in taking responsibility for all health aspects.
  3. Hans Oh’s eHealth Blog: Hans Oh currently is completing his PhD studies in health policy, management, and evaluation. His blog is a way of distributing eHealth information to health care professionals and to “regular people.”
  4. eHealth: John Sharp runs this blog. He is an IT Manager for a major medical center, and his areas of expertise include: eHealth, personal health records, Web 2.0 technologies, Windows Sharepoint Services and project management.
  5. eHealth Initiative: This site is produced by a non-profit organization that seeks to drive improvement in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. The target reader is the professional health care worker and health care institutional staff, but they also want to engage the public sector to help define and implement actions that would address the quality, safety and efficiency challenges in the healthcare system and its IT process.
  6. eHealth News EU: This is the European Union’s take on eHealth, including policies, education, security and privacy, and more. This is a great site to get perspective on progress on eHealth issues in other countries, as links to projects, news and other resources are abundant.
  7. eHealthRisk: The eHealthRisk blog provides a forum for individuals to examine privacy, security, safety, project and business risks associated with the application of information and telecommunications technologies to health care.
  8. Open eHealth Foundation: This is an open source non-profit initiative, developed in 2008, for the efficient exchange of medical information based on existing standards. The foundation’s objective is to develop software components and reference implementations as free Open Source software that can help achieve a high level of semantic interoperability in the eHealth field. While it serves as a platform for projects at the professional level, anyone can become involved with how the development of this software could possibly meet stringent privacy and security standards.
  9. Ted Eytan, MD: Dr. Eytan is a family physician with “an interest in patient empowerment and patient-centered health information technology.” He’s located in Washington, DC, the center of patient-centered health care policy issues and IT development, and his blog reflects his involvement with these processes.
  10. The Health Care Blog: This is one of the most popular health care blogs in existence among both professionals and non-professionals. Their tag line, “Everything you wanted to know about the health care system. But were afraid to ask.” is key to realizing that this blog is about the issues that affect the consumer. Expect topics on eHealth, Health 2.0, security and privacy and other information that can inform the public about ongoing health issues.
  11. What Patients Really Want: An Introduction to the ePatient: This article states that, “About two thirds of Americans have sought health information online …and half changed their behavior as a result of their online activities.” The reader then will learn the points that argue why this trend is taking place. This article lays the groundwork for the next topic…Health 2.0.

Health 2.0

You might say that health 2.0 is a flashy cousin to eHealth. Health 2.0 doesn’t replace eHealth, but it reaches out more to the reader with interaction. In fact, many times the reader is the instigator to user-generated content. Look for innovations in search to healthcare-focused social networks and consumer sites as well as trends in wellness and personalized medicine. Online health records would be included in this arena. And, through the following articles, look to the pros and cons concerning security issues on sharing health information online.

  1. A Health 2.0 Overview, Through the Eyes of a New Diabetic: Richard McManus, the founder, editor and CEO of ReadWriteWeb, discovers he has diabetes and chronicles his efforts to learn more about this disease through online information. This is a prime example of a consumer who becomes interactive with online health care venues.
  2. Defining Health 2.0: This article defines Health 2.0, but the author alos provides readers with examples of sites taht offer consumers the chance to learn more about a handful of Web-based health care platforms.
  3. Health 2.0: A wiki is a site where users can alter, add, and delete text to make the content as relevant as possible. This is the hope, at least. This particular wiki “has been set up as a service to the community of visionaries, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, policy makers, and professionals who are working on fundamentally redefining the healthcare industry along the lines of “Web 2.0″.” This redefinition includes dealing with security and privacy issues.
  4. Health 2.0 article: This article, published by the Economist, defines Health 2.0 and treats readers to a balance of what is positive and negative about patient involvement in their health care management.
  5. Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0: Tensions and Controversies in the Field: Benjamin Hughes, MSc, MBA, provides a scholarly paper that aims to establish a clear definition for Medicine 2.0 and “delineate literature that is specific to the field.” Hughes proceeds to propose a framework for categorizing existing literature (56 papers at the time) and identifying key research themes, underdeveloped research areas and underlying tensions or controversies among those who participate in this field. One major conclusion is that “research currently lags behind practice in understanding the implications of Medicine 2.0.”
  6. “Health 2.0″ vs. Health Insurers: The Looming Clash: David Hamilton writes, “The fact is that more widespread use and dissemination of patient data is a double-edged sword, one that seems likely to benefit patients in some ways while disadvantaging them in others.” Read this article to learn more about that sword.
  7. Highlight Health 2.0: The focus of Highlight HEALTH 2.0 is to follow the use of web 2.0 in health and medicine. The blog is a collaborative effort and guest writers are welcome. This is your chance to become involved.
  8. How to deal with the digitally empowered patient: Dr. Scott Haig moderates a panel of orthopedic surgeons to discuss how patient empowerment is changing their current practice and what they see as their future. This discussion provides valuable insights for the consumer.
  9. The Health 2.0 glut, and how one startup adapts: If you can understand, through the information posted above, how consumers and corporations have jumped on the Web to stimulate sharing health information, then this article might interest you. Although this article focuses on just one of many online consumer-focused health care startups, the information provided can provide clues as to the intricacies involved in covering consumer security and privacy.

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