The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs have demonstrated use of standards to transmit substance abuse treatment records tagged with metadata that limits use of the records.

The demonstration used standards developed through the Data Segmentation for Privacy Initiative supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The initiative is a response to calls from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to use metadata to set rules for the use of specific types of electronic information and give consumers more control over information releases.

Under the demonstration, SAMHSA sent a mock patient’s substance abuse treatment records from its electronic records system to the VA’s EHR. The metadata verified that the mock patient consented to the transmission and that the information could be used only for certain purposes and not be further disclosed without patient consent. More information is available here.

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