In the traditional world, the individual moves through differing process and policy environments in which varying policies govern their interactions with others. As one example, governments face the problem of enabling and managing cross-border travel and immigration. To address such requirements, government law and/or policy typically require citizens crossing national boundaries to possess passports that establish citizenship and identity. A passport links or "binds" some information about the individual (photograph, height, weight, age) to a specially designed physical document having a unique issuing authority and control number.
Health care providers are facing massive IT challenges these days, many driven by the changing legal landscape. The most pressing is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which lays out strict rules for protecting the privacy of patient data. Congress is also wrangling over consumer rights legislation, such as a patient bill of rights that will likely affect not only how health care organizations treat patients, but also how those organizations treat patient data.
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