Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Privacy Groups Want Strong Security Measures for Electronic Health Records

SANS Institute summarizes an article about US privacy rights and civil liberties advocacy groups writing legislators and asking them to ensure that any adoption of electronic health records include substantial security measures. Such letters from the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Social Workers and Patient Privacy rights request that patients have control over how their medical records are used and that they be protected from organizations that share and sell medical information.
"We all want to innovate and improve health care, but without privacy our system will crash as any system with a persistent and chronic virus will," Patient Privacy Rights executive director Ashley Katz said at a Capitol Hill briefing.
Chairman of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Edward Kennedy and ranking member Michael Enzi submitted a bill in the 110th Congress and have worked with Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to beef up its privacy provisions. However, Senate Small Business ranking member Olympia Snowe does not believe the measure went far enough, and together with Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, offered letters of support for the privacy groups' call to action.
"Without robust safeguards, the health IT systems we are planning for today could turn the dream of integrated, seamless electronic health networks into a nightmare for consumers," Markey said in a statement.

For complete article, see nextgov.