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By Marc-Anthony Signorino,

Spring is upon us and, with it, new projects for the IDESG. Recently, I attended the HIMSS Conference & Exhibition - one of, if not the largest, educational event for health IT professionals - where I publicly addressed one of our most critical efforts: providing a road map for healthcare companies and providers to protect an individuals private health information.

Interestingly, industry leaders such as Mayo Clinic CISO Jim Nelms, cite health-related information as far more difficult than financial data to protect. Think about it: Quality care is predominantly driven by communication and information-sharing between providers. And while such a practice makes perfect sense in the healthcare community, it puts patientspersonal information at a much higher risk of exposure. So as the amount of healthcare-related data online increases – driven, in part, by the number of healthcare devices connected to the internet – youll see from IDESG a new emphasis on mapping the Identity Ecosystem Framework (IDEF) to HIPAA, HITECH and other relevant healthcare requirements.

First and foremost, we want to streamline this process for healthcare companies, so that they can share and collaborate around privacy best-practices just as well as they communicate other critical information concerning their patients. At some point, all of us have experienced the fallout of unwittingly hurting someone whom you were only trying to help. In that vein, I can imagine that it is incredibly difficult for healthcare providers to simultaneously adjust to an entirely new healthcare system whilst maintaining compliance with HIPAA’s and HITECHs heightened provisions surrounding how electronic health information may be shared – and all while technology and cyber-crime evolves faster than you can say, “devastating fraud.”

IDESG is committed to minimizing the possibility that providerswell-intentioned efforts to communicate dont unintentionally expose their patients to a different type of virus: one that is transmitted by data thieves and opportunists. Stay tuned for additional details and ways you can join our healthcare initiative.