Healthcare Information Security

Patient Privacy News

ONC Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts to leave position

By Patrick Ouellette

- National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo announced that Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare IT (ONC) Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts will be leaving ONC on July 12.

In an internal ONC memo sent to HealthITSecurity.com, DeSalvo praised the work Pritts has done as the first Chief Privacy Officer over her four and a half years at ONC, saying that because of her efforts, “privacy and security have become engrained in the ONC culture.” Before stepping down, Pritts wanted to aid and advise Desalvo during her first few months as National Coordinator. A critical aspect of Pritts’ job was to simultaneously improve both patient data privacy and accessibility, including her work toward patients getting direct access to their lab test results.

Joy and her team have made great strides in furthering policy and technology that improves individuals’ ability to choose when and how their health information may be electronically exchanged.  Joy’s team has also provided much needed technical assistance to providers on how to make sure that electronic health information is safe and secure.  Thanks to Joy’s perseverance, for the first time the Secretary’s Strategic Initiatives include a distinct initiative addressing privacy and security.

Pritts also played an integral role in working with other federal agencies on patient privacy policy development, according to Desalvo. The National Coordinator stressed that she is dedicated to patient privacy and working with the team Pritts is leaving behind to ensure that ONC privacy goals are met.

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  • I am committed to stressing the responsibility shared by all with regard to privacy and security in health information technology.  Fortunately, Joy has built a strong team that will continue the important work she started, and will help carry on the legacy of work to ensure that health IT is used to improve the health of all Americans in a private and secure manner.

    Desalvo added that she will work with Pritts in finding a new Chief Privacy Officer for both the short and long term.

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