Salu launches HIPAA Resource Center and signs partnership with AmeriPath's Dermpath Diagnostics Division

Granite Bay 09 August 2001Salu's Dermdex division has entered into an agreement with Dermpath Diagnostics, the dermatopathology division of publicly held AmeriPath Inc. AmeriPath is a provider of integrated anatomic pathology services to physicians, and Dermpath Diagnostics evaluates skin biopsies and related patient specimens. The contract will provide physician skin care specialists with enhanced access to information about Dermpath Diagnostics' dermatopathologists, expertise, services, educational laboratories, and regional laboratories. In turn, Salu, a developer of Medical Specialty Hubs which provide Web-based tools and services to help physician-specialists improve patient care and practise efficiency, has recently launched a HIPAA Resource Center including easy-to-follow guidelines for designing and implementing a HIPAA-compliance programme by 2003.

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One of the Resource Center's features is an on-line risk assessment tool that can help speciality physicians quickly determine what their practices must do to become HIPAA-compliant. Supporting the risk assessment tool is a Top Ten List providing physicians with a quick reference on HIPAA's key requirements and their impact on the speciality practice. Neurologists, dermatologists, allergists, and cardiologists will find a HIPAA Resource Center located on the Medical Specialty Hub designed for their speciality practice. The HIPAA Resource Center is also accessible via Salu's corporate Web site. In addition to offering comprehensive information ranging from summaries of key HIPAA requirements to a discussion on the benefits of these requirements, the Resource Center helps the speciality practice structure its compliance plan into manageable steps by offering practical guidelines in the section "Complying with HIPAA".

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a broad piece of legislation aimed at reforming health care and recognising the health care industry's increased use of, and reliance on electronic technology. It was signed into law in 1996. The portion of HIPAA legislation dealing with medical privacy and protecting the security and confidentiality of personal health information took effect in April 2001. The rules cover not only paper records, but also computer files and oral communications. The rules require accountability for how a medical practice uses and discloses patient information and establishes specific rights a medical practice must afford its patients. Health care providers and insurers have two years to come into compliance with this section of the legislation.

Complying with HIPAA includes two basic requirements designed to help the speciality practice design its own compliance programme. These consist in, first designating a privacy officer who is responsible for implementing and overseeing the privacy policies and procedures for the practice; and, second, documenting the policies and procedures for protecting the privacy and security of personal health information. Salu's Chief Privacy Officer Jay Eisenberg, M.D., recommends tasking the privacy officer with the first and most critical step in developing a compliance plan, which is performing a risk assessment. Physician-members of Salu's Medical Specialty Hubs are able to access a risk assessment survey in the password-protected "Manage Your Practice" section. The privacy officer can also help assess the policies and procedures the practice has in place and how they will need to be amended to comply with the new requirements.

In addition to Complying with HIPAA, other sections within the Resource Center include:

  • HIPAA and Medical Practices, which highlights key features of the law and explains how each will impact the medical practice
  • What is HIPAA?, which describes the history behind this broad piece of legislation and its two main components: portability and administrative simplification, the latter of which establishes requirements for privacy and security
  • Benefits of HIPAA, which covers the tremendous value of HIPAA for patients and the practice office staff
  • Privacy and Security Overview, which provides a historical context for the current legislation

Salu makes it easy for specialists to access other business and professional solutions from one integrated source by pairing its 500 proprietary tools and business consultation resources with a full range of services offered through its partners. As such, Salu's DermDex division is the only provider of powerful Web-based solutions designed expressly to help dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and cosmetic surgeons maximise profitability, increase practice efficiency, and enhance patient care. Dermdex's Medical Advisory Board members support the company's services and ensure that it best meets the needs of the physician skin care specialists it serves.

"Dermpath Diagnostics selected Dermdex as our partner because of its unique and exclusive focus on physician skin care specialists", said Bruce Walton, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of AmeriPath. "Dermpath Diagnostics is excited to be the exclusive dermatopathology service highlighted within the specialist-focused market place, reinforcing our commitment to the skin care community", added Mr. Walton. Dermpath Diagnostics, with more than fifty board-certified dermatopathologists, is a provider of dermatopathology services in the growing skin diagnostic testing market. Salu's Dermdex brings together its Member Center, skin care market place, service providers, and sponsors to deliver trusted products and services to its members.

AmeriPath is a national provider of cancer diagnostics, genomic, and related information services. AmeriPath's extensive diagnostics infrastructure includes 427 pathologists and doctorate-level scientists providing services to forty-two independent pathology laboratories, the Center for Advanced Diagnostics (CAD), and Dermpath Diagnostics. CAD provides specialised diagnostic testing and information services including Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridisation (FISH), Flow Cytometry, DNA Analysis, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Molecular Genetics, Cytogenetics, and HPV Typing.


Leslie Versweyveld

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