HIPAA & interoperability: 2 clarifications from the ONC

The road to interoperability is long and not always clear. The ONC offered clarification on how HIPAA fits into a future where data flows freely between health IT systems that seamlessly work together.

Here are two clarifications from the ONC, outlined in a Health IT Buzz blog post.

1. HIPAA not only protects data, but allows for appropriate sharing. Covered entities are allowed to use and disclose protected health information under HIPAA for a number of reasons, such as conducting quality improvement activities and developing clinical guidelines.  

2. HIPAA works with interoperability. In several of the circumstances HIPAA allows for data sharing, covered entities can use and disclose PHI without first obtaining written authorization from patients. Covered entities can often freely use data in pursuit of national interoperability.

The ONC will release four blogs explaining how HIPAA fits into the interoperability framework.

Click here and here to view OCR fact sheets on permitted uses and disclosures of PHI.

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