For Clinics, Privacy Training Is Key

MGMA's New CEO Offers Security Insights
Physician group practices, many of which are adopting their first electronic health record system, need to make staff training on privacy and security issues a top priority, says Susan Turney, M.D., the new CEO at the Medical Group Management Association."Comprehensive and ongoing staff training is extremely important," Turney says. "It's really essential that people understand the reasons why they have to have safeguards in place and that it's absolutely essential to protect patient information."

Turney recently took over as head of MGMA, which has almost 22,000 members who are administrators at about 14,000 practices with 280,000 physicians.

In an interview with HealthcareInfoSecurity, Turney notes:

  • MGMA, in collaboration with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, offers a privacy and security toolkit designed with smaller practices in mind;
  • Practices must adopt policies and procedures to protect patient information in compliance with HIPAA while giving caregivers timely access to data that they need to make the right decisions;
  • As more physicians take advantage of tablets and other mobile devices, it's important to encrypt patient information in storage as well as in transit;
  • Practices need to be well-prepared to detect breaches and notify patients when they occur, making sure "that the patients are informed on how they can help mitigate any harm that may be caused as a result of the breach."

Turney, M.D., MS, FACP, FACMPE, took on the role of CEO at MGMA in October following the retirement of William Jessee, M.D. She previously served as the CEO and executive vice president of the Wisconsin Medical Society. Prior to that, Turney served as the medical director for patient financial services at Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic. There she also practiced internal medicine, participated in student and resident education and served in leadership roles for 22 years. She also chaired the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network.

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