As featured on the TAWPI Blog
By Lee Barrett
As pharmacy continues to play an ever-important role in patient care, pharmacists progressively maintain access to sensitive patient information. Added to this, there is increased incidence of electronic prescribing, at the encouragement of federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services. e-Prescribing has even been referred to as the “on-ramp” to the healthcare information highway.
All of this means that pharmacy continues to play an integral role in readying the healthcare industry for complete reliance on electronic health records, and in the imperative protection of patient health information. In response to this repositioning of the industry, state Boards of Pharmacy seek to hold organizations that have access to this information to high standards. As such, pharmacists are required to respond to the patient’s right to privacy.
The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) represents a wide range of stakeholders in its peer-driven effort to advance healthcare through electronic transaction standards, and is positioned to assist pharmacy in ensuring they are protecting patient privacy rights. The accreditation services offered by EHNAC facilitate improved business processes and expanded market opportunities for electronic health networks, payer networks, financial services firms and e-prescribing and other solution providers.
As the healthcare industry evolves toward increased electronic exchange of clinical data, it becomes more critical that trading partners and their customers such as payers, providers, pharmacies and other stakeholders can rest assured that the networks and applications in use are functioning appropriately, but also that they are well protected. Toward this end, EHNAC’s e-Prescribing Accreditation Program (ePAP) helps demonstrate the operational integrity of e-prescribing transaction networks, electronic health record systems, e-prescribing solution providers, and any other electronic health network or company that manages e-prescribing transactions on behalf of its customers.
Through ePAP, EHNAC assessors review an organization’s electronic and fax-based transactions across five main categories of criteria, including privacy and confidentiality; technical performance; business practices; resources; and security. ePAP accreditation from EHNAC also gives an e-prescriber’s customers confidence that all necessary standards for transaction timeliness, security and privacy with new prescriptions and renewals are met or exceeded.
With the health of the pharmacy industry and patients at stake, there is urgent need to secure patient privacy as e-prescribing increasingly becomes standard practice among healthcare providers.