Reinforcing Compliance Quality, HIMSS/URAC Collaborate To Co-Market HIPAA Privacy, Security And Health Web Site Accreditation

CHICAGO, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and URAC have entered into a joint marketing agreement to promote the URAC Health Information Technology Accreditation Programs. Through the agreement, HIMSS will promote the URAC Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security and Web Site Accreditation programs to its members, and URAC will market HIMSS membership, programs and services to its customers, on each organization's respective Web sites and through other education and communication opportunities. The accreditation program from URAC is a validation strategy a healthcare organization can use in its HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance efforts."

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030501/URACLOGO )

"HIMSS' mission in promoting the use of healthcare information technology and management systems is clearly aligned with our ongoing mission to promote continuous improvement in the quality and efficiency of health care delivery," said Garry Carneal, president and CEO of URAC. "By choosing to market URAC's Health Information Technology accreditation programs, HIMSS is helping to ensure that quality processes are integrated into health information technology across the healthcare industry."

The marketing affiliation is a natural extension of each organization's efforts to help their respective constituencies meet the HIPAA deadlines. Taking a leadership role to provide its members with resources and guidance for compliance, HIMSS has been actively advocating for implementation of HIPAA, which is designed to protect the security and confidentiality of medical records. URAC offers a variety of health information technology (IT) programs and services including quality benchmarking and accreditation programs to help establish and maintain best practices in the healthcare industry. Both HIMSS and URAC have reinforced administrative simplification and resource support for healthcare organizations trying to meet the standards and deadlines for compliance with HIPAA.

"The HIMSS Privacy and Security Steering Committee has been working to provide HIMSS members with relevant resources for HIPAA compliance," said Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN, CPHIMS, HIMSS director of professional services and staff liaison for the steering committee. "At the same time, we have been closely monitoring the industry's status on compliance."

Following a situational approach to compliance, the URAC accreditation programs for HIPAA Privacy and Security take into account the requirements that different types of organizations must follow. While the accreditation programs do not guarantee HIPAA compliance in either Privacy or Security, they are designed to verify, through an independent review process, that an organization has put in place the necessary infrastructure and processes for compliance.

"Information technology truly has become the infrastructure of every business and in the business of health care, structural integrity rests on IT security," said Soloman I. Appavu, chair of the HIMSS Certified in Healthcare Security (CHS) Technical Committee and director of systems planning at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County & Cook County Bureau of Health Services in Chicago. "The URAC accreditation for HIPAA Privacy and Security signifies that an organization has achieved this integrity and is maintaining it."

The Web site accreditation focuses on the online market to ensure that privacy, security, editorial and financial processes and linking policies meet industry standards.

"Compliance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules will help establish the necessary standards for a more efficient and effective delivery of healthcare information," said H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO. "We look forward to working with URAC to inform our members about these accreditation programs that can help them streamline the steps they must take to comply with HIPAA."

Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030501/URACLOGO AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org

URAC; HIMSS

CONTACT: Joyce Lofstrom of HIMSS, +1-312-915-9237, jlofstrom@himss.org;or Eamon Bobowski of URAC, +1-202-216-9010, HealthIT@urac.org

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