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Illinois Information Trust Institute leads HHS program on Health Information Privacy and Security
Date:4/5/2010

SHARPS has assembled an elite multidisciplinary team of healthcare and cyber-security experts that is uniquely capable of carrying out an ambitious strategic program to bring security and privacy in health information technology to a new level of sophistication."

SHARPS will focus on three health information environments -- electronic health records, health information exchange, and telemedicine -- that are becoming increasingly popular in spite of security concerns with their use.

Electronic health records, although already prevalent in most U.S. hospitals, are subject to risks that paper records are not, such as the physical ease with which a thief can carry away thousands of patients' records on a USB stick in his pocket. Further, electronic records are vulnerable to Internet-based attacks if they are put online to increase accessibility.

Health information exchange plays a crucial role whenever patients and their healthcare providers are not in the same place -- for example, when a patient seeks emergency care while traveling far from home, or a patient's primary care physician wishes to consult a specialist who is located at another institution in another state. However, such information exchange is greatly complicated by the fact that providers at different locations may be subject to different laws and institutional policies, and may face different security threat levels. Furthermore, multiple providers may be using different health information systems that are not compatible with each other.

Finally, telemedicine -- technologies that enable individuals to monitor and manage their health in settings outside hospitals -- is already being used to support a broad range of health and wellness goals, such as chronic disease management and independent aging. However, security and privacy risks have been a major barrier to adoption. Networked sensing devices collect sensitive personal information, from physiological data to inform
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Contact: Carl A. Gunter
cgunter@illinois.edu
217-244-1982
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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