By Jean L. Eaton, BA Admin (Healthcare), CHIM, CC
Privacy of Health Information, an IFHIMA Global Perspective
IFHIMA Working Group Lead
The International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) released its latest whitepaper, “Privacy of Health Information, an IFHIMA Global Perspective” during the 19th Congress of IFHIMA in Dubai.
This whitepaper is the culmination of months of work from dedicated HIM professionals and IFHIMA volunteers, and as chair of the working group and one of the authors, I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you.
This paper provides a synopsis of current trends in privacy in health care around the globe, discusses the role of HIM professionals in privacy, and offers more detailed perspectives through case studies from Australia, the EU, India, Qatar, Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the USA.
HIM professionals have transitioned from the traditional role of health records custodians to data stewards and information privacy advocates. There is an opportunity to take on a leadership role with regard to the privacy of health information.
This privacy paper includes discussion on the following topics:
- Global privacy trends
- What is personal information?
- Privacy and trust
- Challenges in maintaining trust when technology moves faster than regulations
- Privacy stewardship foundations, including the role of the privacy/compliance officer
- Avoiding risks, harm, and breaches
- The complexity of breach notifications
- How technology impacts privacy
After a thorough discussion, the paper also suggests several actionable steps that anyone can implement and discuss with their teams. Privacy is a team effort, but it requires a strong, trusted leader who can be the voice of clarity and transparency for patients, consumers, and regulators—all while building consensus.
These steps include:
- Getting involved as privacy regulations are developed
- Assessing what the regulations may mean to your organization
- Communicating your insights to the team, leadership, and regulatory bodies
- Identifying required changes to systems, processes, and technologies
- Training your teams, admins, and patients about their privacy rights and responsibilities
- Committing to ongoing professional growth to stay abreast of the changing landscape
Privacy regulations that bring together emerging technologies, health care processes, and individual rights should take a pragmatic approach, with consideration to future health information technology solutions such as telemedicine, Internet of Things, and big data.
HIM professionals, in our role as stewards of health data, should be the voice of clarity and transparency for patients, consumers, and regulators. #IFHIMA
6 case studies
The whitepaper includes observations and commentary about the status of privacy projects around the world, including the following case studies:
- My Health Record – The Australian Experience
- General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union Reaches Far Beyond Europe
- Health Care Privacy: An Indian Scenario
- Developing a Global Standard for Health Information Privacy Workforce Education – A Republic of Korea (South Korea) Case Study
- Health Information Exchange Implementation – Qatar, HIE Consent Model for Privacy Concerns – Privacy Regulatory Framework
- Laying the Foundation for Privacy Practice and Compliance in the Outpatient Setting: Policies and Procedures. Download the Privacy of Health Information
“Privacy of Health Information, an IFHIMA Global Perspective” will aid anyone tasked with planning for increased data sharing while trying to manage health care privacy. Ministers or Department of Health staff, privacy and data governance consultants, vendors, and health systems should find it especially helpful. Whether you are from a nation crafting its initial privacy regulations or one that is revising insufficient policies, the information is relevant and enlightening.
This volunteer opportunity has allowed me to network with HIM professionals around the globe and broaden my awareness of privacy in health care. I encourage you to expand your skill set and experiences by volunteering with IFHIMA. The next congress is in Brisbane, Australia in 2022!
I’d like to express my appreciation for the hundreds of hours of work contributed by this exemplary group of volunteers and authors, including:
- Lorraine Fernandes
- Angelika Haendel
- Jenny Gilder
- Mujeeb C. Kandy
- Ok Nam Kim
- Dr. Sabu Karakka Mandapam
- Veronica Miller Richards
- Dorinda M. Sattler
- Dr. Rajesh Kumar Sinha
- Selvakumar Swamy
- Christopher Wilde
Register to receive this white paper and IFHIMA Global News, published three times per year: https://ifhima.org/sign-up-for-ifhima-global-news-whitepaper-and-events/