ACLU, R.I. Reach Settlement To Increase HIE Transparency

May 2, 2014 in News

The Rhode Island Department of Public Health must increase transparency of its state health information exchange and develop more privacy protections for patients, according to a settlement between the department and the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Rhode Island Public Radio reports.

Lawsuit Details

In 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the state health department claiming that it had failed to implement clear, public procedures that would allow patients to access, edit or remove their electronic health records on the state HIE, called CurrentCare (Gourlay, Rhode Island Public Radio, 4/22).

According to FierceEMR  the department used internal policies to operate the state HIE and failed to release such information to the public (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 4/28).

Settlement Details

The settlement was approved by a state superior court judge in Providence (Rhode Island Public Radio, 4/22).

As part of the settlement, the state DPH has released new regulations that aim to bolster protections and provide patients with more information about the HIE. Among other things, the regulations detail how to:

  • Limit providers’ access to patient data; and
  • Opt out of the system.

Reaction

ACLU Attorney Frederic Marzilli in a statement praised the settlement, saying, “The department’s agreement that it will no longer adopt unofficial policies to implement the health information exchange will better ensure public oversight of the way that Rhode Islanders’ sensitive health care information is treated” (FierceEMR, 4/28).

Michael Fine, director of Rhode Island DPH, said he welcomed ACLU’s support in helping to protect patients’ private health information (Rhode Island Public Radio, 4/22).

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