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HIM PROFESSIONALS Guardians of Privacy and Security— AHIMA Is Here for You AHIMAknowsthedailychallengesyoufaceto safeguardhealthinformationsecurityandpatient privacy.Attimesitcangetoverwhelming.Those arethetimeswhenyouneedtoknowsomeoneis tandingwithyou,lookingoutforyouandyour profession.AHIMAprovidesawideselectionofinformation sourcesandsupportingresourcestoinspireyou andpoweryourorganization’sprivacyand securityinitiatives.We’recommittedto developingthepropertools,instruction,and publicationstohelpyouperform—andprotect— atahigherlevel.
MEMBER PROFILE »
SA, RHIA, CHPS,
Broaching the Subject of Breaches
Mary Thomason respects your privacy.
The author of a book on HIPAA and
frequent healthcare privacy speaker,
Thomason, MSA, RHIA, CHPS, CISSP,
has focused her career on a cornerstone
of heath information management—
keeping patient information secure and
private. Thomason is a senior compliance
consultant for Intermountain Healthcare,
where she’s responsible for providing
guidance and resolving privacy issues for
Intermountain’s vast healthcare system—which includes 32,000 employees,
20 hospitals stretching across two states,
140 clinics, and several other healthcare
continued » page 5
With Intermountain since 1996, Thomason transitioned from an information systems analyst to the organization’s HIPAA
Nancy Davis, MS, RHIA, director of privacy/security officer, watched the number of privacy investigations for the Wisconsin-based Ministry Health Care system double in one
year following implementation of breach notification measures. Ministry wasn’t alone. The
entire healthcare industry is on red alert for breaches of protected health information. “I
think there is more at stake now than ever before as we balance many forces,” said Davis.
More than 15 million medical records have been breached since 2005, according to the
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. These events pose significant risk of identity theft or repu-tational harm to patients. They also have damaging effects on healthcare organizations.
Davis, a member of AHIMA’s 2011 Privacy and Security Practice Council, points to several driving factors behind the industry-wide trend of increased breach incidents:
•;A growing awareness by staff of potential privacy issues.
•;More informed patients knowing their privacy rights and expressing concerns
regarding security of EHRs.
•;Ever increasing migration of health information to EHRs and health information
•;Media coverage of single VIP/celebrity breaches and large-scale breaches impacting
thousands through lost or stolen devices.
•;Increased government regulations and greater scrutiny through investigations.