Privacy And Patients: Having Patience With Change

Successful analysis of the rule will require time and attention from staff in virtually all departments in a health care organization that handle identifiable medical information. Because of its scope, the rule will affect virtually all areas in an organization. That’s because the rule requires the development of privacy protection procedures and the training of all employees to comply with the procedures.

HHS officials issued the proposed privacy rule because Congress failed to enact a national privacy law, authorized under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The proposed rule governs only the …

AMA Can’t Escape The Master

amaThe American Medical Association is not about to shut down its lucrative Physician Masterfile, a treasure chest of biographical information on doctors that generates about $23 million in annual revenue for the Chicago-based organization.

As expected, the AMA’s policymaking House of Delegates, meeting last week in Chicago, skirted any action on a resolution to limit the organization’s use of the database, which is used by pharmaceutical firms to target physicians through their prescribing patterns. Filled with personal and professional information on more than 800,000 U.S. physicians, it is the most richly detailed and comprehensive repository …

Clinical Information Vendors Ready To Serve It Up

civrClinical information will have to be computerized before it can be used to manage care systematically, and most healthcare facilities have a long way to go to get their data off charts or clipboards.

But that’s only the beginning, say experts on using information in clinical settings. Once computerized, the data have to become part of an overall effort to coordinate the contributions of many departments toward patient diagnosis and treatment.

For example, if pharmacy information is not easily integrated with lab results, medical history or nursing documentation, a doctor might not get a complete …

Plunging Into The Eap

In a global economy where the competition for the best and brightest workers is perhaps even more intense than the competition for new customers and markets, the health and safety of employees and workplaces are critical to the success of any organization. EAPs, under the direction of or in cooperation with occupational physicians or medical directors, can help employers manage the health of their workers and worksites and promote greater employee productivity.

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My own experience in this area is instructive. As a plant physician several years ago, and later as regional medical director, I helped …