Electronic Healthcare Records , Governance & Risk Management , Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE)

Exclusive Interview: New HHS ONC Leader on Health Data Security

Micky Tripathi Describes Critical Data Access Issues
Micky Tripathi, national coordinator for health IT at HHS

As patients more commonly use smartphones and APIs to access their health information, critical security and privacy considerations need to be top of mind, says Micky Tripathi, the new Department of Health and Human Services' national coordinator for health IT.

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"There are real concerns," Tripathi says in a video interview with Information Security Media Group. "The challenge that we have is that we are putting into place and encouraging the use of technologies that we believe have an overarching benefit of patients being able to have more access and control over their health information - to use it for purposes that will benefit themselves. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some risks along the way … and privacy and security concerns."

Data-Sharing Issues

Addressing health data exchange issues, Tripathi points out that under ONC's information blocking regulations that went into effect last month, healthcare organizations face potential penalties for refusing to share a patient's health data with other entities.

"At the heart of the information blocking rule and 21st Century Cures Act … it doesn’t matter if you're a competitor or a collaborator - if that party is authorized to get the health data, then you're required to make that information available," he points out.

In the video interview, Tripathi also discusses:

  • Healthcare sector breach trends, including the spike in ransomware incidents;
  • Challenges involving the rapid scaling up of online technologies, including telehealth and remote work-related applications, during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • ONC's security and privacy priorities.

Tripathi has over 20 years of experience in healthcare IT. Before being named HHS' national coordinator for health IT, he served as chief alliance officer for Arcadia, a healthcare data and software company; project manager of the Argonaut Project, an industry collaboration to accelerate the adoption of FHIR; and a board member of HL7, the Sequoia Project, the CommonWell Health Alliance and the CARIN Alliance. Tripathi also served as CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, a nonprofit health IT advisory and clinical data analytics provider, and he was founding CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange.

About the Author

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Executive Editor, HealthcareInfoSecurity, ISMG

McGee is executive editor of Information Security Media Group's HealthcareInfoSecurity.com media site. She has about 30 years of IT journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues for more than 15 years. Before joining ISMG in 2012, she was a reporter at InformationWeek magazine and news site and played a lead role in the launch of InformationWeek's healthcare IT media site.

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