Since 2009, the U.S. government has paid over $24 billion to healthcare providers who adopt and demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified electronic health record technology. As a result, thousands of providers are now seeing millions of patients and generating countless medical records and billing episodes that, for the first time, are created, transmitted, stored, and/or paid completely electronically. This is just the beginning.
Earlier this year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released its “10-Year Vision to Achieve An Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure.” Its stated goal is to “make the right data available to the right people at the right time across products and organizations in a way that can be relied upon and used by recipients.” This represents a massive technological undertaking that has, at its core, the secure creation, storage, transmission and sharing of unprecedented amounts of personal health information (PHI) and other forms of sensitive data. While banks and retailers have decades of experience with massive cyber security infrastructure, the healthcare industry has, until recently, remained decidedly low-tech.