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HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Matthew Fisher: HIPAA audits will reveal mass noncompliance

The health law attorney and self-proclaimed craft beer lover says audits will finally push healthcare providers into implementing better security measures.
By Jessica Davis
08:49 PM
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Matthew R. Fisher chairs the Health Law Group within the firm Mirick O'Connell in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Matthew R. Fisher chairs the Health Law Group within the firm Mirick O'Connell in Worcester, Massachusetts, a fitting role given his passion for understanding the practicality of healthcare regulations in the real world.

At the end of this month at HIMSS16 he'll bring this legal background to the Social Media Ambassadors program.

[Also: Bill Bunting talks 2016 predictions, patient engagement]

Fisher shared insights including understanding the next steps for IT security in healthcare, the microbreweries he cannot wait to visit in Las Vegas, and what he’s most looking forward to at the conference.

Q: One health IT prediction for 2016?

A: I think the HIPAA audits will finally occur. After the first round we'll likely find widespread noncompliance and that, in turn, will finally spur others to immediately put into place the minimum security measures of HIPAA. But HIPAA is just the ground floor: true security measures need to go above and beyond the regulation.

Q: What’s something about you that even your devout followers likely don’t know?

A: They don't know how much I love craft beer. I'm definitely a craft brewery fan and try to visit one wherever I go. I even have some planned out in Vegas: Hop Nuts and Camo Brewing.

Q: What inspired you to apply for the Social Media Ambassador program?

A: Having followed HIMSS through the social media channels and selected social media ambassadors in the past, I wanted to add my voice to that. And hopefully I can bring a different perspective on things coming from the legal side, as opposed to the health IT-side, which is already well represented.

See all of our HIMSS16 previews

Q: What is the untold benefit of social media in healthcare today?

A: The ability to make connections with people you often wouldn’t be able to meet or otherwise interact with. We also can gain access to vast amounts of information and the ability to learn from others. I'm certainly learning from people I wouldn’t have come across in the health law field – and it helps to understand how the laws affect them rather than just stating regulations without knowing the consequences.

Q: What are you most looking forward to learning about at HIMSS16?

A: Learning more about the current thinking in health IT, in terms of what people are doing regarding security and how they're responding to threats. Unfortunately, healthcare has gotten a lot of bad press lately, in that payers and providers haven’t been focusing on security enough. The world has changed so quickly they haven’t been able to keep up. It will be interesting to learn about the new solutions and options out there. It's always nice to see what's really happening since the legal side only gets a small portion; it’s the tech side that drives the focus.

See all of our HIMSS16 previews


This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.

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Sue Murphy, RN, chief experience and innovation officer, patient experience and engagement program, at The University of Chicago Medicine: "One thing we do in keeping senior leaders involved is send information to them in a very data-driven, date-based fashion, so they know they will see certain patient experience outcomes metrics, for example, between the 15th and the 18th of every month."