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Health Information Trust Alliance creates health IT security group

The success of health IT rests on users and beneficiaries learning to trust healthcare technology. A move made by The Health Information Trust Alliance put more stock in that statement. The alliance announced the formation of another group — the Health Information Technology and Medical Device Integrity and Security Program — that intends to work on improving the general security of health IT, with a focus on systems and devices.

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) outlined the group’s mission to “avoid, report, and mitigate vulnerabilities.” It plans to accomplish this by stimulating awareness of individuals’ roles in the operation of healthcare systems and by creating a framework to aid providers in avoiding, reporting and documenting security vulnerabilities. The group will assemble subgroups to produce specific security recommendations and best practices.

In addition to observing the mechanics of health IT systems, the HITRUST security program will monitor people’s level of trust in the health IT sector. Keeping tabs on the public’s attitude toward health IT is one of the ways HITRUST will measure the success of its program — which it hopes will boost the public’s faith in the reliability, privacy and security of the health IT sector.

HITRUST also announced the creation of a committee to oversee the newly-formed health IT security program. Committee members include: Karl Stubelis, CFO and VP of athenahealth Inc., Pamela Arora, senior VP and CIO of Dallas-based Children’s Health System, Carl Dvorak, president of Epic Systems Corp. and David Muntz, senior VP and CIO at GetWellNetwork, Inc. Muntz previously served as principal deputy national coordinator for health IT at ONC.

In a release announcing the group’s formation, Muntz said: “Given the pace and complexities associated with protecting these [health IT] systems, the private sector, not the government, should step up to manage this process. There is too much riding on the effectiveness and acceptance of these systems and we must ensure we maintain consumers’ confidence.”