Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of PatientPrivacyRights.org, had an Op-Ed in yesterday’s Boston Herald:
â€œOops! They did it to Britney again.â€ No, itâ€™s not a song parody, but a reflection of the poor state of American health privacy – something Bay Staters should think about as their Legislature considers a bill to mandate Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
Staff members at UCLAâ€™s Medical Center are under investigation over allegations staffers accessed Britney Spearsâ€™ medical records earlier this year. Sadly, this is not the first time individuals other than the paparazzi violated Spearsâ€™ privacy; staffers also took inappropriate peeks when her first child was born.
Massachusetts residents should realize that they donâ€™t have to be a celebrity to be subjected to such treatment.
EHRs are containers of very personal information. What you once told your doctors in confidence, perhaps to end up in his files, will now be accessible via the Internet, increasing access to hackers, nosy medical staff and businesses out to make a buck on the billion dollar health industry.
Patient privacy is threatened by human error and human nature. In addition, it is greatly compromised by our weak federal protections.
Most Americans think the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects their privacy and that the HIPAA notice they sign at the doctorâ€™s office lists all of their rights to privacy. In fact, that HIPAA notice lists the vast number of ways their private health information can be used, without asking and over objections.
Read more in the Boston Herald