Electronic Healthcare Records , Governance & Risk Management , Healthcare

AMA Outlines Privacy Principles for Health Data

Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D. Describes Key Privacy Concerns
AMA Outlines Privacy Principles for Health Data
AMA Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D.

The American Medical Association has issued a set of privacy principles for health data that it hopes Congress and regulators will keep in mind as they prepare legislation and regulations. AMA Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., describes the recommendations.

"Our principles speak to granting individuals greater granular control over how their information is used and shared," he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. That means technology developers should start thinking more about how to permit individuals to securely share specific information, rather than complete records, he adds.

"Someone may only want to share a medication list or diagnosis list as opposed to their entire medical record," he points out.

When it comes to health data collected for research or to develop machine learning algorithms, the AMA is also "calling on entities to use de-identification techniques that are demonstrably robust, scalable, transparent and provable - and to make sure those techniques are clear to the people using them," he adds.

"Our privacy principles provide guidance on what any federal privacy framework should include."

In the interview (see audio link below photo), Ehrenfeld also discusses:

  • Other key recommendations included in the AMA's privacy principles;
  • Critical issues involving patients' right to access and control their health information;
  • What the AMA likes and dislikes about the Department of Health and Human Services' recently issued final rules for health IT interoperability and information blocking prevention.

Ehrenfeld is the Joseph A. Johnson Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the departments of anesthesiology, surgery, biomedical informatics and health policy. He was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 2014. Ehrenfeld divides his time among clinical practice, teaching and research. His research focuses on understanding how information technology can improve surgical safety and patient outcomes.

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