• News New Blog Banner

  • Mobile Technology Risks and Tips Now Featured on HealthIT.gov

    Smart phones, tablets, and the ability to wirelessly connect to files and other information can enhance service to patients and clients—but they can also create serious problems if providers aren't aware of how misuse of the technology could violate provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A new webpage at the federal HealthIT site sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is aimed at helping health care professionals understand the privacy implications of portable devices that have become nearly ubiquitous.

    The "Your Mobile Device and Health Information Privacy and Security" webpage includes text and video designed to help individual providers learn about risks of handheld and wireless technologies, and steps that can be taken to maintain privacy. Though not intended to serve as the definitive source to ensure compliance with state and federal law, the webpage includes tips on how to secure mobile devices, how to reduce the risk of unauthorized access of information in the event of theft, and how to develop organizational policies and procedures around portable devices. The webpage also features links to more detailed documents from the HHS Office for Civil Rights Health Information Privacy.

    APTA's HIPAA webpage can help you stay on top of privacy issues. APTA members can also access a July 2013 Learning Center webinar that discusses new HIPAA requirements including rules about the use of mobile technology.

    HHS Updates Practice Guidelines on Knee OA, Falls Prevention

    Aerobic walking programs for the management of knee osteoarthritis (OA) and recommendations for falls assessment and prevention are among the clinical practice guidelines recently approved by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC).

    The NGC's update of the Ottawa Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for aerobic walking programs in the management of osteoarthritis focuses on the efficacy of various programs for adults over 40 with knee OA, and analyzed outcomes for walking programs that feature any combination of strength training, health education, behavioral components, and multicomponent exercises. The review evaluated outcomes based on pain level, quality of life, and functional status.

    The falls guidelines are an update of National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care clinical practice guidelines developed in 2004 by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. The recently announced NGC evidence reviews included analyses of risk identification methods, assessment tools, reduction of psychosocial impacts of falls, rehabilitation methods, the role of care setting in intervention approaches, and educational needs of patients and their families.

    NGC is an initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). NGC was originally created by AHRQ in partnership with the American Medical Association and the American Association of Health Plans.

    APTA views the development of clinical guidelines as a crucial component in reducing unwarranted variation in care. Learn more about the importance of these guidelines at APTA's webpage devoted to the development of clinical practice guidelines, and access a wide range of guidelines through PTNow, the association's resource for evidence based practice information.