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The legislation that roared. (In focus: a message from the editors).

If you don't know the significance of April 14, 2003, then you should find this issue of The Information Management Journal particularly enlightening. April 14 is the deadline by which most healthcare organizations must be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. HIPAA is the first federal law to address health privacy in a comprehensive way. HIPAA's Privacy Rule seeks to protect patients' personal health information (PHI)--whether in the form of e-mail, fax, paper and voicemail records, or phone conversations--that is transferred to or maintained by a healthcare provider or its business associates.

Experts say HIPAA's Privacy Rule just might set a new standard for privacy in the United States. According to Ryan Barker, Privacy Council's chief privacy officer, "... we're going to see federal and state privacy rules and legislation go through for privacy in other areas. Ultimately, I believe all industries, sooner or later, are going to have some kind of privacy legislation that they have to comply with."

As Nikki Swartz explains in her article "What Every Business Needs to Know About HIPAA," HIPAA is the beginning of something that will affect all businesses--and, therefore, all records and information management (RIM) professionals--in one way or another. By understanding the regulation's potential impact, you can help ensure your organization is adequately prepared.

One of the goals of the HIPAA legislation is to mandate national (U.S.) standards for the electronic transmission of healthcare data to help prevent fraud and abuse and enable administrative simplification. The Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq) specification, which was originally developed as part of a European Commission initiative, could help achieve this. In "MoReq: The Standard of the Future," Piers Cain examines the specification, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its potential future as a global standard. Cain submits that anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of specifying or evaluating electronic records management systems should begin with MoReq. Here's your chance to learn more about it.

Bruce Dearstyne's article, "Tragedies, Controversies, and Opportunities: Redefining RIM's Role in a Turbulent Time," does not explore recent legislation, but it is a must-read for every RIM professional. This article uses recent events--such as the sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C., area and the September 11 terrorist attacks--to explain just how critical information is today and, as a result, the implications and challenges for RIM professionals. "The opportunities for records and information managers have probably never been greater or more promising," he writes.

Also in this issue, R. Kirk Lubbes, CRM, explains automatic categorization and helps records managers decide whether or not to adopt the technology in "So You Want to Implement Automatic Categorization." In their article, "The Truth About Taxonomies," Denise Bruno, MLS, and Heather Richmond, CRM, identify types of taxonomies and reveal how organizations can use and develop them.

This issue of The Information Management Journal illustrates that whether brought about by new regulations, advancing technology, or recent events, there is great opportunity for RIM professionals to play increasingly important and strategic roles within their organizations. Now it is up to us to seize that opportunity.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:Information Management Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Previous Article:What is records and information management?
Next Article:White-collar crimes will get harder time. (Up front: news, trends & analysis).

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