Sharing Sensitive Health Information Securely



Technological advances have helped make vast improvements in the medical world. To that end, the move toward sharing health information electronically has patients concerned about privacy issues. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were able to successfully demonstrate the sharing of a “mock patient’s substance abuse treatment records tagged with privacy metadata from one electronic health record system to another after consent from the mock patient,” (HHS, 2012). The privacy metadata tag lets the provider receiving the sensitive health information know that he or she must have patient consent before disclosing it to others. This mock scenario proves that gaining the cooperation of patients is doable. However, retaining the patient’s trust requires that providers remain vigilant about complying with privacy laws when using electronic health records and health information exchanges.

Read more on this privacy metadata tag in the HHS press release: