Obama health care plan said to boost security, privacy controls

The electronic health records plan in President Barack Obama’s $825 billion economic stimulus bill aims to boost security and privacy controls beyond those now required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) initially provides $20 billion for the creation of a national electronic health records system that would fundamentally improve the manner in which health information is electronically created, accessed, stored, shared and controlled.

Health care security experts lauded the bill for upgrading HIPAA controls that security experts have criticized for years. Some did say they still fear that the improvements could be diluted at the request of health care lobbyists.