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The Stimulus Bill Will Change How IT Data is Used in Healthcare
At this writing, the Stimulus Bill has not been passed, but it will change how we use IT. The funding and implementation incentives will get all the press, but it is the fine print that has the potential to change how IT healthcare information is used.
The Stimulus Bill will restrict use of healthcare data. To date, the biggest areas of concern have been:
- The use of patient consent for internal healthcare operations;
- Revised definitions of healthcare operations limiting use of patient information (potentially including use of patient information for quality reporting);
- Accounting for of all disclosures, even for treatment;
- Patient consent for information use by a healthcare exchange;
- Extending privacy and security rules to business associates.
None of these issues may appear in the final bill and additional elements can be added at the last minute. The legislation is moving fast and there will be unintended consequences. How government chooses to enforce the provisions and how our own organizations choose to interpret will determine the impact on our operations.
When the final bill is signed, evaluate the direct economic impact. Also be sure to look for additional provisions that will change how healthcare uses data.
Peter Sanderson, MD, MBA is a family physician and Director of Medical Informatics and Operations and Executive Sponsor, EHR Program, at Ministry Health Care. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at MD Leader.