New privacy guidelines for electronic health records


Electronic health records raise privacy questionsAs the government moves toward the adoption of electronic health records, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced new privacy guidelines for the treatment of these records.

The eight principles announced by the HHS this week cover patient access, record correction, transparency, patient choice, limitations regarding the records, data integrity, safeguards and accountability.

Announcing the guidelines, HHS secretary Mike Leavitt stressed the importance of the individual having control over their data and not being forced to accept "privacy risks."

"Consumers need an easy-to-read, standard notice about how their personal health information is protected, confidence that those who misuse information will be held accountable and the ability to choose the degree to which they want to participate in information sharing," he explained.

During his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama promoted the use of electronic health records as having the potential to reduce costs, as well as increasing efficiency and accuracy.

Some groups, such as the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, have raised concerns about the possibility that such records could be misused by insurance companies, lawyers, advertisers and others if they gained access.

Personal Liberty

Personal Liberty News Desk

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.