Friday, April 4, 2014
By Katie Wike, contributing writer
New HHS tool helps providers assess security risks to HIPAA compliance
According to HealthIT.gov, “ONC, in collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the HHS Office of the General Counsel (OGC), developed a downloadable Security Risk Assessment Tool (SRA Tool) to help guide” providers through the HIPAA-required assessment.
The Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool is meant to help providers in small to medium offices conduct risk assessments and, a HIPAA regulations require providers to regularly examine the way protected health information is handled, this new tool is a valuable asset to those looking for a way to meet the requirement.
“By conducting these risk assessments, healthcare providers can uncover potential weaknesses in their security policies, processes and systems. Risk assessments also help providers address vulnerabilities, potentially preventing health data breaches or other adverse security events. A vigorous risk assessment process supports improved security of patient health data,” wrote HHS in a press release.
"Protecting patients' protected health information is important to all healthcare providers and the new tool we are releasing today will help them assess the security of their organizations," said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. "The SRA tool and its additional resources have been designed to help healthcare providers conduct a risk assessment to support better security for patient health data."
"We are pleased to have collaborated with the ONC on this project," said Susan McAndrew, deputy director of OCR's Division of Health Information Privacy. "We believe this tool will greatly assist providers in performing a risk assessment to meet their obligations under the HIPAA Security Rule."
Over the last nine months, Humana (NYSE:HUM) has undertaken a series of pilot projects aimed at testing the potential of remote patient monitoring in reducing hospital readmissions, improving health outcomes and cut costs.
Its latest program, called Activities in Daily Living, will utilize an engagement platform from Pharos Innovations to help its Medicare Advantage members better manage their Type 2 diabetes at home.
Humana said that select members in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas who have diabetes and take insulin or another diabetes medication will use Pharos’ Tel-Assurance platform to self-report health information like blood sugar levels, symptoms, diet and medication adherence daily. They can use a cellphone, telephone or internet to report the information, which will be reviewed by Tel-Assurance nurses. The nurses who will reach out to the member if any of the data indicates complications or cause for concern.
“We’re expecting to reduce unnecessary inpatient admissions and to improve self-care management,” a Humana rep said in an email.
This is the fourth remote monitoring pilot Humana has launched recently. It partnered with home health monitoring Valued Relationships Inc. and Healthsense on two separate pilots aimed at using sensors and medical alert systems to reduce serious long-term effects of falls and emergencies, and cut unnecessary emergency room visits. The insurer is also working with AMC Health on a pilot program using remote monitoring to improve congestive heart failure outcomes.As health insurers adapt to consumer-driven health and accountable care models, they’re making moves to do a better job of proactively engaging members in their health.
The diabetes pilot will run for six months and include 500 members.
Read more: http://medcitynews.com/2014/04/humanas-latest-digital-health-pilot-will-test-remote-patient-monitoring-type-2-diabetes/#ixzz2xugY0AEI