Healthcare risk managers need to undertake a comprehensive overhaul of patient consent documents in the light of the HIPAAA omnibus rule and Meaningful Use Stage 2, paying close attention to issues surrounding what information can be shared and with whom.
That is the view of Ruby Raley, director of healthcare solutions for Axway, the global software company. She said that a simple update of an existing consent form is unlikely to tackle the emerging complexities surrounding confidentiality of genetic information and the desire many patients will have to keep certain information from their employers.
“Let’s say a woman has a birth cancer marker; she may not want any future employers to know that in case they decide that they don’t want to insure her. Or say a patient is receiving mental health counselling – they may pay for that out of pocket because they do not want you to share that information with their health plan, because their health plan tells their employer where all of their benefits were. You can see why that becomes a problem if I’m an integrated provider with a consolidated billing system,” she said.
She added that these types of complications necessitate having additional rules in place and an IT system that respects those rules.
“Unfortunately in the US a lot of our revenue cycle management systems have been in place for a long time, which makes it very hard to find all the places where information flows and add these rules in,” she said.
She emphasised that risk managers need to ascertain whether their organization has control over patients’ information and is properly respecting patients’ wishes.
“It really is a huge challenge and something you need to start now. You need to have a very tightly integrated policy, process and structure rather than just adding a sentence in here and a sentence there. There’s a lot to do here.”
Patient, consent, Healthcare risk, patient consent forms