As we move closer to a nationwide health information technology infrastructure, APTA is aggressively pursuing avenues to assist physical therapists select and implement health information technology (HIT). Additionally, APTA is working with federal policymakers to educate them as to the importance of including physical therapists in HIT initiatives moving forward.
While physicians and hospitals are the beneficiary of many of the federal government's initial efforts to encourage HIT adoption, they will expect the other providers they work with, including physical therapists, to use it as well. Patients may also begin to expect their providers to use HIT to manage their care.
Physical therapists should remain aware of and become educated on issues relating to health information technology particularly in this dynamic health care delivery environment. The following resources provide updates on HIT program development and legislation, as well as APTA's related advocacy efforts.
News and Updates
HIPAA Privacy Rule and allowable disclosure of patient information: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
January 15, 2013: A health care provider may disclose information about a patient "…to law enforcement, family members of the patient, or other persons [who may reasonably be able to prevent or lessen the risk of harm], when you believe the patient presents a serious danger to himself or other people." Learn more.
Guidance Regarding Methods for Deidentification of Protected Health Information in Accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule
November 26, 2012: the OCR released guidance regarding methods for deidentification of protected health information in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. "The guidance explains and answers questions regarding the two methods that can be used to satisfy the Privacy Rule's deidentification standard: Expert Determination and Safe Harbor [Section 13424(c) of The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)]. This guidance is intended to assist covered entities to understand what is deidentification, the general process by which deidentified information is created, and the options available for performing deidentification."