A standard to address the legal and technical complexities of electronically exchanging behavioral health data has gained some traction with its inclusion in the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria final rule released last month. However, critics say the Data Segmentation for Privacy (DS4P) standard is not ready for prime time.

Behavioral health data requires additional protections beyond HIPAA, including adherence to federal law 42 CFR Part 2, which limits disclosure of identifiable information by a federally-assisted substance abuse treatment program to any entity, even for treatment, without signed consent from the patient, with limited exceptions. It also restricts re-disclosure of data by the receiving entity for any purpose without consent.

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