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FOR RELEASE: June 8, 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Oklahoma to Examine Privacy Issues Linked to Creation of National Health Information Network

Oklahoma is one of 34 states selected to participate in an effort to address privacy issues associated with the proposed creation of a National Health Information Network. Oklahoma will receive a $323,529 award from RTI International, a contractor for the National Governors Association.

RTI International is examining business policies and state laws related to the privacy and security of health information for the National Governors Association. In January this year, RTI released a “Request for Proposal” and all states and territories were able to compete for funding to examine their state’s privacy and security policies, regulations and business practices that might affect their ability to connect to the national health information network.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health responded with Oklahoma’s proposal, the Oklahoma Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration Project (OK HISPC). Oklahoma will integrate partnerships within the state’s health care infrastructure with public and private sector resources to ensure success. The OK HISPC project offers an opportunity for stakeholders throughout Oklahoma to participate in identifying best practices related to privacy and security and health information exchange.

New health information technology makes electronic medical records, e-prescribing and e-billing possible for nationwide sharing of health information and the adoption of electronic health records. A national health information network has the potential to dramatically improve the cost effectiveness and quality of health care, including giving consumers access to their own health care information so they can make informed choices. With this technical innovation, however, states must consider privacy and security challenges that could impede the development of a national health information network and be active in developing solutions in their states.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is seeking input from interested parties who would like to be a part of this collaborative effort, including clinicians, physicians groups, health facilities and hospitals, payers, public health agencies, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and consumer organizations. For more information, contact Robn Mitchell, HIPAA privacy officer at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 405/271-9444, ext. 56519.

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