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VPMA Voice

Last week, Keith Carter, MD, head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, joined UI Health Care leadership for our presentation to the Board of Regents. One of the most exciting ideas he shared was a new screening process for diabetic retinopathy.

Using a patient-directed retinal exam camera—that costs a mere $200—a patient can self-administer his or her own test either alone or with the help of a partner or nurse. This time-saving, inexpensive procedure will allow thousands of people to be screened quickly, thus greatly improving access. Within minutes, patients will be provided a risk assessment via a doctor’s evaluation over the internet, for such diseases as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and stroke. This simple device will undoubtedly become an integral part of our ongoing mission to help prevent blindness.

Beyond its extraordinary medical benefits and ease of use, this new technique is a great example of the clinical leadership and forward thinking vision that will ultimately provide lower costs and tangible results for Iowans and others living in rural areas. Innovations such as this will be essential to our growth and prosperity.

We have some of the best minds in the world here at UI Health Care. Together, we need to continue striving for revolutionary changes in thinking, products, and processes that will make our enterprise even greater.

As always, please continue to e-mail me at vpma@uiowa.edu with your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Signed, Jean Robillard

Dr. Elliott appointed interim division director

David Elliott, MD, PhD, assumed duties as interim director of the Division of Gastroenterology Hepatology effective August 1 and will lead the division during the search for a new permanent director.

Dr. Elliott succeeds Bruce Luxon, MD, PhD, who directed the division through an important period of rebuilding. Dr. Luxon leaves in mid-August to become head of the Department of Internal Medicine at Georgetown University.

Web business planning update

The first round of meetings to develop a business plan for UI Health Care websites was held on July 28–29. Over those two days, more than 75 representatives from across the enterprise met in six separate committees that will help chart the course for the future of our web presence. The committees are focusing on UI Hospitals and Clinics, UI Children’s Hospital, Carver College of Medicine, UI Physicians, and The Point intranet. The sixth committee is composed of technology experts who will help implement the web business plan when it is completed in mid to late autumn.

“I was extremely pleased by the number of participants, especially since our first meetings were held in the middle of the summer,” said Ellen V. Barron, UI Health Care associate vice president for marketing and communications. “I was even happier with the liveliness of the discussions and the enthusiasm during the meetings.”

Barron’s sentiments were echoed by John Eudes, president of Greystone.Net, an Atlanta-based firm that has been engaged to facilitate the business planning process.

“Greystone has been doing this kind of business planning work for 13 years, and I have rarely seen so much interest and engagement from the participants,” Eudes said. “We are off to a great start.”

Each participant was given “homework” assignments by Greystone, much of which focuses on identifying best web practices across the country. The second round of business planning meetings will be held on campus on August 19–20.

Privacy violations bring federal charges

A physician and two former employees of the St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanor federal charges for accessing the medical records of a patient out of curiosity. The three admitted to accessing a patient’s record without any legitimate purpose. Each faces up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

This is a reminder to everyone working, learning, or volunteering at UI Hospitals and Clinics that there are REAL, LEGAL consequences to violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. We are all expected to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and University policy to protect patient privacy.

To ensure compliance, every faculty and staff member, student, and volunteer working at UI Hospitals and Clinics is required to sign a statement attesting to their understanding of the policy and the Privacy Rule as part of their annual HIPAA training. Among the key points of the Privacy Rule:

• It is inappropriate to access patient medical records for other than legitimate purposes.

• It is inappropriate to discuss a patient’s status, care, or other circumstances with those not involved in the patient’s direct care.

• It is inappropriate to discuss a patient’s care in a public setting such as a hospital dining room, elevator, or on a bus.

To monitor privacy compliance, we periodically conduct reviews of computer access to confidential patient information and use every measure within our authority to discipline those who do not respect the private nature of a patient’s protected health information. Discipline ranges from reprimands to suspensions to termination.

To help all patients feel confident that their protected health information is safe at UI Hospitals and Clinics, please:

• Do not share your password with ANYONE.

• Do not bring family members or friends into patient care areas when you are working.

• DO MAKE PRIVACY A PRIORITY.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Compliance Office at 384-8282 or compliance@healthcare.uiowa.edu. If you wish to remain anonymous in reporting a concern, you may call the Compliance Helpline at 384-8190.

Hospital Dentistry reminder

The General Dentistry and Orthodontics services of Hospital Dentistry, formerly located in the Pomerantz Family Pavilion, are now located in the College of Dentistry building. Appointments are available with the dentists, hygienists, and staff of General Dentistry by calling 356-2743. While dental students do practice in other clinics in the College, they are not part of this clinic.

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