ONC schedules mobile device roundtable for March 16 in Washington

A roundtable discussion scheduled for March 16 in Washington, D.C., will address the management and protection of health information on mobile devices. The discussion will include three panels comprised of federal officials and representatives of research, provider and industry organizations.

The roundtable is being coordinated by the Health & Humans Services Department’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and MAXIMUS, a Reston, Va.-based provider of government services.

The panels will cover the following areas:

  1. Current regulatory framework, guidance, standards and toolkits for providers and other healthcare delivery professionals using mobile devices;
  2. Real-world uses of mobile devices by providers and other healthcare delivery professionals; and
  3. Real-world privacy and security practices, strategies and technologies specific to mobile devices.

ONC is also seeking public comments on privacy and security issues and best practices related to healthcare uses of mobile devices. That initiative runs through March 30.

Both the public comment period and the roundtable are part of the Privacy & Security Mobile Device project launched in January by the ONC’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, working with HHS’s Office for Civil Rights. The discussions build on the existing HHS HIPAA Security Rule regarding remote use guidance.

"The Mobile Devices Roundtable is one of the ways HHS is helping to create conditions for health information to flow securely,” said Joy Pritts, the ONC’s chief privacy officer, in a press release issued on March 8. “This initiative demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that privacy and security keeps pace with mobile health technology.”

Officials have listed four objectives for the roundtable:

  1. Address the current privacy and security legal framework for mobile devices accessing, storing and/or transmitting health information;
  2. Discuss real-world use of mobile devices by providers and other healthcare delivery professionals to understand their expectations, attitudes, challenges and needs;
  3. Gather input regarding the information (and format) providers and other healthcare delivery professionals want and need to help them safeguard health information on their mobile devices; and
  4. Gather input on existing and emerging privacy and security good practices, strategies and technologies for safeguarding data on mobile devices.

The roundtable will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (check-in begins at 7:30 a.m.) in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building at 200 Independence Ave. in Washington.

Eric Wicklund is the editor of mHIMSS.org.