The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recently announced that it will be conducting a national campaign aimed at educating the public about the importance of privacy and security in the electronic exchange of their personal information as relates to Health Information Exchanges (HIEs).

This initiative is being done to comply with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009. The congressional mandate wants to accelerate adoption of health information exchange, which has the potential to improve quality of care, safety and efficiency.

HIEs are a subject that we have previously discussed. They are a convenient way to integrate patient records and data from multiple sources into a single patient view, making it easy to access patient information. This data is securely accessible in real-time for physicians across multiple connected hospitals. The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data to provide safer, more timely, efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered care.

ONC will gauge responses from 40,500 consumers and health professionals over the next 24 months to help guide its strategies, messages and websites, according to an announcement in the Nov. 1 Federal Register. ONC will use a variety of methods to collect data including different focus groups, multiple surveys, website usability testing, and in-depth screening to gain feedback. The Federal Register identifies two separate audiences — the general public and healthcare professionals. Data collection will be tailored to both groups.

ONC is officially collaborating with the Office of Civil Rights, which oversees health information privacy in the Health and Human Services Department to create the campaign.

The public may comment on this information collection for a period of 60 days. To obtain copies of the supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed paperwork collections referenced above,  you can email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and OS document identifier, to Sherette.funncoleman@hhs.gov, or call the Reports Clearance Office at (202) 690-6162.

Source: Government Health IT