The HHS Office for Civil Rights plans to use powers authorized under the HITECH Act to tighten up a host of security and privacy requirements, as well as exponentially increase the financial penalties for HIPAA privacy and security violations.

Adam Greene, senior health IT and privacy advisor in the OCR, outlined a slew of changes to existing regulations. The final HITECH privacy, security and breach notification rules will arrive in 2011 and be issued together, Greene said, to minimize staggered compliance dates and changes to notices of privacy practices.  The rules need to be revised to reflect the more widespread use of electronic data and electronic health records, Greene said.

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