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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Nov 13 2011   11:55PM GMT

Proposed new ruling to open access to lab test results for patients

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Consumer Health IT Summit, Data management and data standards, HIPAA, Kathleen Sebelius, Lab results, Labs, PHI, PHR, Protected Health Information

On November 12, 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the proposal of new rules that enable patients to gain access to their lab test results electronically and securely, providing a direct link to protected health information (PHI) for both patients and their personal representatives. The announcement was made during the HHS Consumer Health IT Summit. Sebelius noted:

“When it comes to health care, information is power. When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care,” said Secretary Sebelius. This Summit offers a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors alike to share strategies to improve consumer access to their health information, while safeguarding the privacy and security of their data.

During the Summit, Secretary Sebelius also announced the push for a standardized PHR template for vendor disclosures, specifically in regards to their privacy and security policies and practices. This would help consumers compare the different vendors according to a standardized format.

According to HHS, the focus of the Summit was to identify all the positive aspects of using health care technology to enable higher quality care, improved outcomes and overall decreased system costs. The Summit also discussed the value of pushing for the use of technology to help improve care while still ensuring the safeguard and protection of patients’ health records and PHI.

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