Electronic Medical Records and Privacy Concerns

electronic medical records

        I hope you all had a safe and happy Father’s Day.

        A followup to my blog entry on May 21st about Google and electronic medical records. There was recently an interesting  article in The New England Journal of Medicine on the potential privacy pitfalls of this rapidly evolving technology.

        The authors, Dr. Kenneth D. Mandl and Dr. Isaac S. Kohane are physicians/researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston, the pediatric teaching hospital at the Harvard Medical School. They’re concerned that private firms like Microsoft and Google aren’t bound by HIPPA regulations.

        The good doctors fear that unregulated electronic medical systems run by public and private companies, rather than medical organizations policed by tight regulations, could create a bit of a wild-west environment that could expose consumers to all sorts of deceptive advertising and marketing. Worse yet, that the public could be marketed to with wild promises at perhaps their weakest moments.

        Despite their concerns, the authors remain strong advocates of the continual development of the technology and usage. Their solution? A mix of federal regulation and a possible extension of HIPPA.

        Hard to disagree with their call for caution.

 

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