New ONC chief privacy officer to speak at mHealth Privacy & Security Symposium

November 27, 2014 in Medical Technology

Lucia Savage, who joined the National Coordinator for Health IT as chief privacy officer this past month, will join other top security officials from the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a panel at the HIMSS Media Privacy Security Forum at the mHealth Summit on December 7.

[See also: ONC names new privacy chief]

Savage’s appearance represents a great opportunity for privacy and security professionals to hear her speak publicly for one of the first times since joining ONC in October. What are her strategies, priorities and mandates when it comes to helping providers safeguard patient data – specifically with regard to mobile devices?

On a panel – Sunday. Dec. 7, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. – alongside Suzanne Schwartz, director or emergency preparedness/operations medical countermeasures in the FDA’s Center for Devices Radiological Health, and Iliana Peters, senior advisor for HIPAA compliance and enforcement at HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, Savage will offer her perspective on the mHealth issues most critical to attendees.

Prior to her arrival at ONC, Savage was senior associate general counsel at UnitedHealthcare, where she focused on large data transactions related to health information exchange, healthcare transparency projects and other data-driven projects. She’s also served on the governance board of the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services’ Multi-Payer Claims data base project, and has worked on legal and compliance issues at the Pacific Business Group on Health and Stanford University.

Savage tells Healthcare IT News that the top item on her to-do list since taking the reins has been “filling out my staff with more super talented dedicated people.” In addition, she says, she’s been spending much of her time hammering out the privacy and security implications of ONC’s 10-year interoperability road map.

Asked how her prior work experience has informed her approach to her new job at ONC, Savage says, “My experience has always been to be practical but to be precise. That’s the banner I would wear at a pageant. I bring that with me to ONC, but it is probably more a reflection of who I am than of experience at UnitedHealthcare, PBGH or Stanford University – all places where I worked extensively on privacy issues.”

No question, these are challenging times when it comes to privacy, mobile and otherwise. HIPAA, she says, should be seen as an ally.

“I see HIPAA and other privacy laws as enablers of appropriate use of patient data, because these laws provide the guardrails,” says Savage.

The mHealth Summit 2014 runs from Dec. 7-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside Washington, D.C. Register here.

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