At nine-hospital MedStar Health serving the Washington, D.C. region, posters touting its commitment to health information privacy and security, with the trademarked theme “Promoting Trust by Protecting Privacy,” are prominent in hospital publications and throughout facilities, including elevators. Other posters are for educational purposes. One promoting strong passwords shows a teenage boy standing in front of his birthday cake with the message, “My birthday is extra special, it can open my mom’s email.”

The posters are part of a commitment to bolster privacy and security that started in 2006. At that point, MedStar’s budget, technical and cultural support for information protection was fading with the realization that government enforcement of the HIPAA privacy and security rules was not going to be what was anticipated, says Alexander Eremia, vice president, deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer. He spoke at the Safeguarding Health Information conference that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are hosting in Washington.

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