‘Tis the season for year-end retrospectives! If you were looking for a recap of the most popular celebrity news in 2022 and ended up here, unfortunately you are about to be disappointed. But if you wanted to know what was trending in the patient data space, you’ve come to the right place!
Our patient data blog covered a lot of ground in 2022. And the reason we covered so much ground was that there was a lot of ground to cover. The patient data space is constantly growing, changing and evolving, and 2022 was no different. The word cloud below shows the most popular themes from all of our 2022 blogs. While most of these themes are not new, our understanding of many of them evolved in 2022 as new regulatory changes took effect.
So let’s get down to it: the most popular patient data blogs of 2022 based on how many people reach each blog. We’ll start with #3 and countdown to #1. Drumroll please….
#3: The OCR’s notorious wall of shame
So admittedly, there’s a little clickbait in here which could be one of the reasons it made the top three. Who doesn’t want to know more about something that’s called the wall of shame? Especially if when it’s tied to the U.S. Department of Health and Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR)!
As with most things in life and all things in the government, actions have consequences. In this case, the OCR has outlined those consequences when HIPAA breaches of patient data occur. While it can be scary to consider the repercussions of a data breach, it is important to understand the potential impact on your organization. I bet if you asked any organization who made it to the infamous wall of shame, they would tell you that they wish they could go back in time and take a closer look at their processes for managing patient data. The purpose of this blog is not to scare you but rather to help you understand how important it is to ensure you have plans, systems and processes in place to avoid data breaches. You can read the full blog here for more information on the wall of shame, and what you can do to avoid showing up on it.
#2: Let’s break it down: right of access
Another day, another healthcare regulatory term full of grey area and confusion: right of access. This blog breaks down “right of access”, which is used in the HIPAA Privacy rule to describe the requirement of covered entities to provide individuals with access to their protected health information (PHI) upon request.
As you know, providing patients with their PHI upon request is much more nuanced than it sounds above – what do you provide, how much do you provide and how do you ensure that data stays secure throughout the process?
This second most popular blog of 2022 reviews all of that and more, including a breakdown of another key term related to right of access – the designated record set. You can read the full blog here to learn more about these terms and how to ensure you have the right policies and procedures in place to support the right of access requirement under HIPAA.
#1: How will upcoming changes to The Cures Act impact my practice or hospital?
While the Cures Act has been around for a while now (it’s old enough to be in kindergarten), the changes in October brought renewed focus to the entire Act including the original provisions that are still in effect.
This blog starts at the beginning, with the origins of the Cures Act and how it has evolved over time. It then provides a more detailed breakdown of the October 2022 changes, which centered around an expanded definition of electronic health information (EHI) that now includes all data in a patient’s designated record set.
Read the full blog for a complete breakdown of the October changes (now in effect!) and what you need to know to ensure your organization has the right processes and procedures in place to support the new, expanded definition of EHI. You can also check out our Cures Act Checklist blog (still popular but didn’t quite make the top three) for more details on how to prepare even now.
Did you notice any patterns in what made the top three? Number two and number one in particular follow a very similar theme – providing access to patient data in a way that keeps your organization in compliance with a variety of different regulatory requirements. If this was easy to figure out, these blogs wouldn’t be as popular.
But the good news is if you read those blogs and you are reading this – you’re on the right track! Per the famous quote, preparation is the key to success. So as this year winds down and a new one begins, this is a great time to make sure you have a solid plan for how to manage your patient data.