HHS, VA Go Granular In Info Exchange Demo

Joseph Conn | ModernHealthcare.com | September 17, 2012

HHS and the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have demonstrated the successful use of technology to persistently enforce federal patient consent requirements at the "granular" data element level, HHS announced. The demo came in response to a 2010 call by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to use what's called "meta-data tagging" to enhance privacy.

In theory, granular tagging could let patients give consent to the exchange of some parts of their medical record—such as a diabetes diagnosis and a corresponding drug prescription—but not other parts, such as a sexually transmitted disease diagnosis or participation in a mental health counseling session.

The system that was demonstrated was developed by the VA in collaboration with HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of the data-segmentation-for-privacy initiative, which is itself a part of a broader program overseen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS...