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privacy project

  October 31, 1996
  HOST:   Aaron Goldstein, 202/434-4771
  GW:     Dr. Richard Southby, 202/994-6220
  WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Healthcare Open Systems & Trials (HOST) and The George
  Washington University (GW) Department of Health Services and Policy are
  teaming up for a new study aimed at bridging the gap between privacy
  advocates and the healthcare information industry and providers.  Funded by
  HOSTís joint ventures with the National Institute of Standards and
  Technology, HIIT and HITECC, the study seeks to define the requirements of
  privacy advocates -- putting the policy issues in technological terms.
  HOST executive director Lewis Lorton said that "the technologists and
  privacy advocates have too long been on opposite sides of the fence.  We
  think there is a great deal of common ground and we intend to illuminate it."
  HOST and GW will conduct a series of in-depth interviews focused on how the
  principles of confidentiality and privacy should be applied in real-world,
  operational settings.  Rather than try to meld an awkward consensus among
  privacy advocates, the study will investigate separately the views of six
  advocates.  Iterative dialogues about specific but exemplar situations will
  identify a clear set of technology viewpoints.  The subjectsí responses
  will be analyzed and a description of the systems needed to accommodate the
  privacy requirements will be written by outside technological, legal and
  administrative experts. To promote the most thorough exchange possible,
  interviewees will receive a copy of the questionnaire well in advance and
  will have the opportunity to review and amend their replies with their
  comments incorporated in the final report.
  Although the HOST-GW partnership already represents a broad spectrum of
  stakeholders, including industry, academia and non-profit associations, the
  architects of the study seek to involve multiple points of view at all
  stages of the study.  Richard Southby, chair of the GW Department of Health
  Services and Policy, said "the projectís goal is to expand the pool of
  knowledge that will be required to deploy health information networks
  sensitive to privacy and technology concerns."
  The legislative and regulatory atmosphere in Washington makes
  privacy-technology issues increasingly important.  After deliberating on
  privacy legislation, the Congress finally enacted Administrative
  Simplification provisions as part of the Kennedy-Kassebaum health reform
  bill.  That new law requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to
  promulgate privacy regulations.  Lorton said that "the policy and
  marketplace realities make it imperative that a clear understanding be
  developed between privacy advocates and technologists about the functional
  requirements of the emerging healthcare information systems."
  HOST is a nonprofit consortium created in 1994 to enable healthcare through
  better information technology.  Our members share a belief in the
  importance of open systems -- interoperable, distributed technology that
  enables implementation of regional healthcare information systems -- and
  the profound impact they will have on healthcare.  A broad-based alliance,
  HOST members cooperate on a variety of innovative projects.  To encourage
  wide application, activities are designed to be sustainable and scalable.
  Healthcare Open Systems & Trials (HOST)
  444 N. Capitol St., Suite 414
  Washington, D.C. 20001
  Lewis Lorton, Executive Director
  Healthcare Open Systems and Trials
  tel 410-715-1181
  fax 410-992-7060