Last week, URAC beefed up its health information technology regulations to protect the privacy of personal health records and assure the quality of information on consumer health web sites.
URAC revised its HIPAA Privacy and Security standards to account for the proliferation of USB drives, laptops and other portable data storage devices in health care organizations. These devices can contain sensitive patient information and can easily be misplaced or fall into the wrong hands. As a result, URAC now requires organizations to train employees and conduct assessments regarding these risks.
In the consumer health arena, URAC now requires accredited Web sites to verify and disclose the credentials of its health content reviewers as well as the details of their credentialing processes.
WebMD has long since been accredited by URAC and John M. Hopkins, its VP of Best Practices, supports the increased scrutiny. “As consumers now rely on the Web as their primary source of health information, URAC’s Health Web Site Accreditation provides…confidence that the quality and credibility of the health information is transparent,” he said in a URAC press release.
URAC was the first regulatory agency to offer accreditation services for consumer health information sites.