Medical Records Safe From Data Breach?

Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, recently published an article in the Wall Street Journal. In it, she describes how the promise of electronic medical records may be impeded because of patients’ fears that their personal health information will be shared with others outside of their healthcare provider.

Her perspective is one that highlights the risks of rushing ahead to implement patient health record systems without fully considering the best ways to ensure their security and privacy. An excerpt from her article follows:

“I learned about the lack of health privacy when I hung out my shingle as a psychiatrist. Patients asked if I could keep their records private if they paid for care themselves. They had lost jobs or reputations because what they said in the doctor’s office didn’t always stay in the doctor’s office. That was 35 years ago, in the age of paper. In today’s digital world the problem has only grown worse.

A patient’s sensitive information should not be shared without his consent. But this is not the case now, as the country moves toward a system of electronic medical records.”

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