Dr. Michael Stearns Testimony on Privacy

Michael Stearns, MD was invited to testify on privacy protections within electronic health records before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Privacy and Security Tiger Team and the Health Information Technology Policy Committee on June 29th, 2010.  At that time Dr. Michael Stearns was the Board President of the Texas eHealth Alliance and the President and CEO of e-MDs, Inc.  During the verbal testimony Dr. Stearns was accompanied by Dr. Millican, a family practitioner.   A total of 11 questions were provided by the Privacy and Security Tiger Team.  Detailed responses are provided in the written testimony (see link below).

Dr. Stearns and Dr. Millican responded to the questions and presented a software demonstration that illustrated the granularity of the EHR system and features that were in use by Dr. Millican in his practice on a daily basis.

1. Describe how the technology implements the patient’s consent and the granular choices given to the patient

2. How did your system adopt the approach it has taken to patient consent and what was the motivation for doing so?

3. How long has the technology been in use?

4. How do the providers who use your system handle granular consent?  Does it alter the way they view a patient’s health record when they receive it?

5. What are the advantages to your approach to obtaining patient consent?

6. Is the technology scalable so that small and medium-sized providers could implement it?

7. Is the consent technology interoperable with other systems? (i.e., can the patient’s consent preferences be passed to other systems within an HIE?)

8. If the consent is not interoperable, what technological change would be needed to make it interoperable?

9. What resources are necessary to implement the consent system in its current form? What further resources would be necessary to offer increased granular consent choices?

10. How many systems or users are currently implementing or adopting this technology?

11. How many unique consumers are covered by the technology that is implementing the consumer choice system?

The full body of the written testimony is available here:  Michael Stearns, MD Privacy Testimony June 29, 2010

This testimony was referenced multiple times in a whitepaper titled “Data Segmentation in Electronic Health Information Exchange: Policy Considerations and Analysis.”  This artifact was prepared by the Melissa Goldstein, JD, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services at the George Washington University Medical Center and Alison Rein, MS, Director of Academy Health for the Office of the National Coordinator of HIT.

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