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2017 National AHIMA Convention: Takeaways for Health Information Management Professionals

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) held its annual convention and exhibit in Los Angeles, October 7-11. This year’s event delivered a renewed focus on the profession’s responsibility to protect and govern Protected Health Information (PHI). During the convention, updates for privacy, security, interoperability and information governance were provided. Here is a quick overview of lessons learned at the conference. You can read more in my recent post to HIM Scene’s blog, titled Heard at #AHIMACon17: Lessons Learned for HIM.

Privacy and Security Institute

This year was the 11th anniversary of AHIMA’s Privacy and Security Institute. Speakers from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Health Information Trust Alliance (or HITRUST) joined privacy and HIM consultants for a two-day seminar.

Additionally, MRO’s Angela Rose, MHA, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, Director of Client Relations and Account Management, and I co-presented a session titled, “Developing Best Practices from OCR Audits and Enforcement Activities.” In this session, we offered best practices for HIM professionals based on lessons learned from the OCR’s patient access guidance, resolution agreements and HIPAA Audit Program protocols. You can download a copy of our presentation by completing the form at the bottom of this blog post.

Cutbacks Underway

The position of Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has been vacant for the past year, and during this time Deven McGraw, Deputy Director of Health Information Privacy at the OCR, successfully served as acting CPO. Her recent departure, along with other cutbacks, will have a trickle-down impact for privacy compliance in 2018.

Onsite Audits Cease

Yun-kyung (Peggy) Lee, Deputy Regional Manager for the OCR, informed attendees that onsite HIPAA audits would no longer be conducted for Covered Entities or Business Associates due to staffing cutbacks in Washington, D.C. The concern here is that whatever doesn’t get regulatory attention, may not get done.

Interoperability Advances HIPAA

The national push for greater interoperability is an absolute necessity to improve healthcare delivery. However, 30 years of new technology and communication capabilities must be incorporated into HIPAA rules. Old guidelines block us from addressing new goals. We expect more fine-tuning of HIPAA in 2018 to achieve the greater good of patient access and health information exchange.

In an article published shortly before the AHIMA convention, OCR Director Roger Severino touched on the need to modify HIPAA in light of technology advancements and cyber threats saying, “I’ve gotten up to speed on HIPAA, and as the threats evolve, we have to evolve in how we approach it – and we have to be smart about who we target. At most I will say the big, juicy case is going to be my priority and the methods for finding it – stay tuned.”

Luminary Healthcare Panel

This session was a very relevant discussion for my role as Vice President of Privacy, Compliance and HIM Policy at MRO. Panelists provided a glimpse into the future of healthcare while reiterating HIM’s destiny—data integrity and information governance.

Final Takeaway

There is no doubt that HIM’s role is expanding. We have the underlying knowledge of the importance of data and the information it yields. More technology leads to more data and an increased need for sophisticated health information management and governance. Our history of protecting patient information opens the door to our future in the healthcare industry.

To download slides from MRO’s Privacy and Security Institute presentation “Developing Best Practices from OCR Audits and Enforcement Activities,” complete the form below.

To download slides from MRO’s Privacy and Security Institute presentation “Developing Best Practices from OCR Audits and Enforcement Activities,” complete the form below.

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Wearables​ may​ look​ adorable,​ but​ are​ they​ producing​ usable​ and​ beneficial​ health​ data?

Modern Healthcare
Wearables​ may​ look​ adorable,​ but​ are​ they​ producing​ usable​ and​ beneficial​ health​ data?
In a recent Modern Healthcare article, Rita Bowen, MA, RHIA, CHPS, CHPC, SSGB, Vice President of Privacy, Compliance and HIM Policy, is quoted on patient prescribed wearable devices and the problems associated with data flow management.

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MRO Celebrates its Foundational Roots of Customer Service by Taking Part in National Customer Service Week

MRO’s team is proud and excited to celebrate National Customer Service Week during the week of October 2, 2017. We gladly give special recognition to our team members who are directly involved in servicing our greatest resource: our customers.

All of our team members are involved in client service and satisfaction to some degree, regardless of function or job title, as we strive to live up to our Mission, Vision and Values as an organization. This year’s theme for National Customer Service Week—“Building Trust”—perfectly aligns with our core value of Trust.

MRO’s Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission
MRO’s mission is to disclose the right Protected Health Information (PHI) to the right requesters in a secure and compliant fashion, with an unwavering focus on client success.

Our Vision
MRO’s vision is to transform the way health information is used and exchanged through innovation, technology and unparalleled service.

Our Values
MRO is committed to being the trusted PARTNER for PHI disclosure management. Our core values are not just MRO’s philosophy; they are what our clients and employees experience every day.

Passion.
It all starts with our people. MRO’s values are driven by employees who are passionate about serving others and providing value to our clients. At MRO, we are propelled by a zeal for excellence and client satisfaction. We love what we do.

Accountability.
MRO’s team takes great pride in our work. Our employees maintain the highest standards of integrity, ownership, work ethic, quality focus and service excellence. We have people and processes you can count on.

Respect.
MRO respects clients’ needs, goals and expectations. We work with our client partners and each other in a spirit of cooperation, goodwill and understanding. When you interact with an MRO representative, you can expect a genuine, caring and empathetic response.

Trust.
MRO is dedicated to being transparent with our clients and delivering on our promises. We put our clients’ needs first. You can count on MRO to represent your organization in the best light, through high levels of commitment, competence and professionalism.

Nurture.
Our team works in a dynamic and nurturing environment that provides the necessary tools to building the best and brightest staff. MRO invests in industry-leading education and training, and fosters career advancement.  We promote a culture that inspires our employees to be the best they can be.

Excellence.
Great isn’t good enough at MRO. We aim to exceed expectations in all that we do. MRO is driven to be the nimble, responsive and proactive partner that delivers only the highest levels of quality, accuracy and innovation.

Reputation.
MRO is the partner and employer of choice, and our reputation precedes us.  We are honored to be the acknowledged industry leader for PHI disclosure management solutions.

Celebrating Service Excellence
At MRO, we function as one, collaborative, excellence-driven structure. We work to fulfill the needs of our clients and requesters of PHI. Additionally, those who seek to obtain information from our client partners should expect their questions and concerns answered and addressed timely and informatively, all while effective and efficient request fulfillment remains our top priority.

Please join us in recognizing service professionals around you!

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