HIT Policy Committee Supports Best Practices for Proxy Data Access

April 10, 2014 in News

On Wednesday, the Health IT Policy Committee approved meaningful use Stage 2 best practices for friends, family or other authorized proxies to view, download and share personal health information on behalf of patients, Health Data Management reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 4/10).

According to Clinical Innovation Technology, HIPAA-covered entities can share PHI with individuals involved in the health care of a patient or in charge of payment for care through view/download/transmit, or VDT, permissions (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 4/8).

Details of Best Practices

During the meeting this week, the Policy Committee recommended that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT distribute best practices for ensuring patients’ PHI remains secure when “extended to friends and family authorized by the patient, and, where appropriate, legal personal representatives” (Health Data Management, 4/10).

The committee recommended the following best practices:

  • Patients should be able to submit VDT access requests for family or friends in-person or remotely;
  • Providers should document the request electronically and use alternate methods to notify or confirm access;
  • When a proxy submits a VDT request, it should be confirmed by the patient using out-of-band confirmation. If the patient is incapacitated, providers can share relevant treatment information but must determine whether doing so through VDT is appropriate;
  • Providers should develop processes for stopping VDT access when patient preferences change or there is a change in personal representative legal status; and
  • Personal representatives must determine what information they can legally access through VDT, as laws vary across different states (Clinical Innovation Technology, 4/8).
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