That message is yes, you can. (Image from The Elusive Fish, a creative services company based in Canada.)
Yes, you can create a complete Electronic Health Record (EHR) and expose that to the Internet as a Personal Health Record (PHR), all the while maintaining full security and compliance with the HIPAA regulations.
The most important deliverable of HITRUST is its Common Security Framework, a scalable system that implements all the security requirements found in the law and evolves based on changing conditions.
Throughout the development of its EHR, which is called HealthConnect, and its PHR, which is called My Health Manager, Kaiser has engaged in extensive collaboration with both the private and public sector on the issue of security, HITRUST said in announcing the award.
While experts are now warning doctors and hospitals of the dangers in compliance, Kaiser is proving it can be done.
But it's been a struggle.
Kaiser has been at this for seven years now, since signing a $1.8 billion contract with Epic Systems in 2003 to develop its system.
As with many such "first" installations, the Epic system has been fraught with delays, cost overruns and allegations of scandal. Even last year, after it was finally delivered, Kaiser found the EHR did not, by itself, increase efficiency at all.
This was one of the data points leading to the development of the current meaningful use guidelines, which are based less on billing than on collecting data that drives change in how medicine is practiced. Using computers to do what you're already doing doesn't make you efficient, the Kaiser lesson holds. Changing what you do in response to the data is the real transformation.
But now that Kaiser has gone through the process, long and expensive and controversial though it was, it's beginning to get some attaboys. One came last year in the form of a $54 million data mining contract with the National Institutes of Health. Another came last month through its connection to the VA's VistA program. This is another.
The good news is that now that Kaiser has pioneered and come back from the frontier with arrows on its back, it is going to be easier to settle that frontier. This is the good news HITRUST wants to spread.