It’s a HIPAA kind of day.  The 20 year old law was intended to accelerate electronic claims processing which it did.  (Well really HIPAA set the stage but a law pass about five years later required healthcare providers to use the electronic claims processes that health insurers and plans had created.)  The downside remains that technology is intertwined with law.  Technology moves fast while the law is cumbersome.  

Today, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights issued HIPAA guidance for cloud computing services that handle electronic protected health information.  Cloud computing sounds glamourous but it simply means that you house your servers with a vendor.  
The FEHBlog has been reflecting on the first anniversary of the introduction of the massive ICD-10 code set on October 1.  The FEHBlog repeatedly remarked before October 1, 2015, that the new code set did nothing to advance HIPAA’s above-referenced purpose.  The government decided that the ICD-10 would bring public health benefits.  Where are those rewards?  Modern Healthcare offers an interesting article captioned “ICD-10 One Year Later: The Terror is Over; the Rewards yet to Materialize.” The article quotes experts who suggest that the benefits never will exceed the cost of implementation. 
Take heart, according to the World Health Organization’s ICD-11 website,

WHO will organize a high-level ICD-11 Revision Conference for Member States, hosted by the Collaborating Centre WHO-FIC in Japan.
This meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the WHO Family of International Classifications Network (WHO-FIC), which will also take place in Tokyo, Japan from 8-12 October 2016. The theme for this year is: “Health Information in the New Era” (「保健医療の新時代:ICD-11改訂会議」).  

HIPAA required HHS to implement a nationwide patient identifier. However, Congress, based on advice from an HHS advisory group, has refused to fund this effort for 18 years. A patient identifier would improve electronic claims processing and offer public health benefits.  Modern Healthcare reports that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and about 20 other organizations are asking Congress to lift this ban.  Based on reading the organizations’ letter to Congress, the timing appears propitious.  Good luck.

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