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Privacy and Security Tiger Team. Today’s Discussion: Query/Response Scenarios for Health Information Exchange February 21, 2013. Agenda. Refocus discussion around query/response scenarios Review query scenarios and develop policy recommendations

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Privacy and Security Tiger Team

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    1. Privacy and Security Tiger Team Today’s Discussion: Query/Response Scenarios for Health Information Exchange February 21, 2013

    2. Agenda • Refocus discussion around query/response scenarios • Review query scenarios and develop policy recommendations • To stay on schedule: 4 meetings (including today) to discuss these topics and wrap up the discussion

    3. Background (HIPAA) • HIPAA and other laws (for example, state medical privacy laws and federal regulations regarding substance abuse treatment records) regulate the circumstances under which most health care providers are permitted to disclose identifiable (protected) health information (PHI), including disclosures of PHI in response to a query or request. • Except in circumstances where the law expressly requires disclosure, the rules permit but do not require providers to release PHI in a range of circumstances (treatment, payment, & operations, for example).

    4. Goals • Not attempting to alter the rules that vest providers with the responsibility to share patient information responsibly and consistent with applicable law • Goal is to remove potential real or perceived barriers – through clarification regarding provider liability for responding to a query – to enable them to respond to queries consistent with their professional obligations and the law • Mapping out scenarios to achieve goals • Scenario 1 – Targeted Query for Direct Treatment (HIPAA controls) • Scenario 2 – Targeted Query for Direct Treatment, Data covered by more stringent privacy law • Scenario 3 – Non-targeted query

    5. Scenario 1 • Targeted Query for Direct Treatment Purposes (HIPAA controls) • Assumptions • Patient Z is being seen by Provider A • Patient Z advises Provider A that patient has recently seen Provider B for treatment or that Provider B maintains the health record • Provider A queries Provider B for records (targeted query in a trusted environment for direct treatment purposes) • Provider A (or staff) will resolve patient ID (i.e., that any records returned belong to Patient Z)

    6. Existing Obligations • Requester (Provider A) • Needs to present identity credentials • Must demonstrate (in some way) the treatment relationship • Must include patient demographic information to enable data holder to locate the record • Data Holder (Provider B) • Needs some reasonable assurance as to the identity of the entity requesting the data. • Needs some reasonable assurance that querying entity has, or is establishing, a treatment relationship with the patient. • Makes decision about whether to release data, and if so, what data, consistent with law • If responding, needs to send back data for right patient, needs to properly address request, needs to send securely.

    7. Relevant Questions • 1) What constitutes sufficient identity credentials to justify reliance? • Use of DIRECT certificate (when issued at entity level, expectation is that entities have id proofed & authenticated individual participants per HIPAA) • But are DIRECT certificates designed to be used for authentication purposes? Does it matter if request is made by an organization or by an individual within an organization? • Membership in a trusted network (HIO, vendor network, IDS) • Others?

    8. Relevant Questions (cont.) • 2) What constitutes sufficient assurance of a treatment relationship to justify reliance? • Data holders own knowledge/history with requester • Capability to confirm within network/IDS • Network rules provide accountability for false attestations • Mere attestation from provider absent network accountability (what would this need to look like)? • Some indication of patient consent (that does not conflict with expressions of patient wishes known to, or on file with, the data holder)? • Known existing treatment relationship with patient (e.g. there already exists prior requests for the patient from the external provider)

    9. Relevant Questions (cont.) • 3) Does it matter if data holder makes the decision to disclose or if the data holder’s response is automated (set by data holder or automatic by participation (such as in a network)?

    10. Relevant Questions (cont.) • 4) What information about the patient should be presented as part of the query? Ideally no more than is needed to accurately match. • Start with basic demographics – full name, date of birth, address (insurance ID?) • Data holder does matching: request more demographic data if query returns two Jane Does. • Breach if wrong record is sent – however, per the final rule, notification to the patient and regulators may not be necessary if the risk is mitigated (through return or destruction of the wrong record) • Requester can search and match for the right patient.

    11. Relevant Questions (cont.) • 5) Data holders should respond to queries consistent with their professional and legal obligations. (Note that even acknowledgement of the existence of a record is PHI.) • Recommend at least acknowledgement of receipt of query? • Data holder may send no records, or all or part of a patient’s record, consistent with ethical and legal obligations. • 6) Requirement to account for and log query and/or disclosure, with capability to share with patient upon request? • Is this possible to do for targeted queries from EHR to EHR, or in federated HIO models?

    12. Scenario 2 • Similar to Scenario 1 in terms of actors and transactions • Difference is that Targeted Query for Direct Treatment Purposes will fall under not only HIPAA, but other law or policy requiring consent before PHI disclosure • Assumptions • Data holder is responsible for obtaining and retaining evidence of patient’s consent (in light of most current laws)? • Data holder responsible for telling the requester what consent they need? • Requester responsible for obtaining consent for data holder to disclose data to requester? • Is consent transmitted to data holder? If so how?

    13. Scenario 3 • Non-Targeted Query for Direct Treatment Purposes • Assumes previous providers are not specifically known. May require use of record locator (or data element access) service or master patient index to find possible sources of record. • Should patients have meaningful choice re: whether or not they are included in an RLS, DEAS or MPI that permits queries from external providers? • Should querying entities be required to limit queries (e.g. by geography, list of providers, etc.)?

    14. Query/Response Back-Up

    15. Privacy Rule: Permissible Use & Disclosure • The Privacy Rule permits, but does not require, many uses and disclosures without authorization* • HHS Rationale**: • For disclosures that are not compelled by other law, providers and payers would be free to disclose or not, according to their own policies and ethical principles. • Rules are intended as a basic set of legal controls, but ethics and professional practice may dictate more guarded disclosure policies. • Nothing in this rule would provide authority for a covered entity to restrict or refuse to make a disclosure mandated by other law. *The only required disclosures are to the individual when they request access or an accounting of disclosures, and to the Secretary, HHS for compliance and enforcement purposes. **Source: 1999 NPRM for HIPAA Privacy Rule, p. 59926. See:

    16. Privacy Rule: Minimum Necessary Standard • Disclosures for treatment purposes (including requests for disclosures) are specifically exempted from the minimum necessary standard. • HHS Rationale**: Exemption established in response to an “overwhelming majority” of comments (largely from the medical community) that expressed concern with applying the standard to treatment: • Contrary to sound medical practice, would increase medical errors, and lead to an increase in liability; • Caregivers need to be able to give and receive a complete picture of the patient’s health; • Complexity of medicine makes it unreasonable to think that anyone will know the exact parameters of the information another caregiver will need for proper diagnosis and treatment; • Existing ethical duty to limit the sharing of unnecessary medical information, and most already have well-developed guidelines and practice standards in place. **Source: 2000 Final HIPAA Privacy Rule, pp. 82713-4. See: