Skip to main content

Education and Collaboration to Protect Healthcare Consumers Highlighted During Health Information Privacy and Security Week

Education and Collaboration to Protect Healthcare Consumers Highlighted During Health Information Privacy and Security Week

As technology continues to shape the future of healthcare, it is important for healthcare consumers to be aware of potential security and privacy risks. Continuing its commitment to address these growing issues surrounding the privacy and security of health information, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) will sponsor (with the support of Crowe Horwath) the seventh annual Health Information Privacy and Security Week, April 11 - 17. This year’s theme is “United in a Mission to Protect Information.”

AHIMA strives to cultivate a community of informed consumers and believes that quality healthcare through quality information is the key to protection. This wisdom can be achieved through collaboration among professionals and healthcare consumers to ensure readiness, action, and a united response to privacy and security issues.

Health Information Privacy and Security Week promotes awareness of the critical need for healthcare professionals, institutions, and consumers to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information. As providers inch toward electronic record-keeping systems, consumers must remain vigilant in monitoring their rights and evolving government regulations. Knowledge, plus a complete, accurate personal health record (PHR), can both enhance quality of care and empower an individual to remedy privacy violations. Visit for detailed consumer health information and consumer privacy rights.

While the $440 billion Medicare system is the ultimate goldmine for some criminals, many obtain their stolen rewards by hacking into individual health records. According to CNN, stolen medical information and the resulting fraud costs US taxpayers $100 billion annually. Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, said that healthcare identity theft dominated all other health sector crimes in 2009. Victimized patients must pick up the pieces, challenging fraudulent bills and inaccurate medical information. An MIT Response Checklist developed by AHIMA provides free response guidance for victims of this crime. To access the checklist, visit, click on the “Privacy + PHRs” button, then “Avoiding Medical Identity Theft.” A link to the checklist appears at the bottom of the page.

The health information management (HIM) professionals at can provide educational assistance for the protection and confidentiality of your personal health information.

AHIMA is America’s leading professional society whose mission is to “improve healthcare by advancing best practices and standards for health information management (HIM) and [serve as] the trusted source for education, research and professional credentialing.”

Alfred State College offers an online associate of applied science in health information technology/medical records. HIT professionals maintain components of health information systems consistent with the medical, legal, accreditation, and regulatory requirements of the health care delivery system. HIT professionals maintain, collect, and analyze data crucial to the delivery of quality patient care.

HIT professionals play a key role in the planning, implementation, and management of the electronic health record (EHR). HIT professionals are educated in the leadership and management of health information, including paper, scanned, or electronic. The HIT professional is knowledgeable in electronic health record/electronic medical record (EHR/EMR), health information exchange (HIE), regional health information organizations (RHIOs), and the legal health record (LHR).

The HIT professional's primary function is to make sure that all the medical information collected about an individual is complete, accurate, and protected, yet readily available for healthcare providers when it's needed.

The health information technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Contact CAHIIM, c/o AHIMA, 233 N Michigan Ave, Suite 2150, Chicago, IL 60601-5800 or (312) 233-1131. Visit their Web site at

Alfred State, a college of technology within the SUNY system, offers 19 bachelor degree and 52 associate degree program options and more than 56 online courses. ASC is particularly known for its learning-by-doing philosophy and hands-on education. The College’s technology-rich programs teach students the critical thinking skills that help them succeed throughout their lives. Additionally, students can choose to participate in more than 50 clubs and organizations as well as intercollegiate sports and intramurals. For additional information call 1-800-4-ALFRED.