Google plan for medical info raises privacy issues

Thousands of patients at the Cleveland Clinic will be able to turn to Google to access their medical records online everything from their prescriptions to diagnoses in a pilot program announced Thursday that worries some privacy advocates.

…But critics worry that the risk of sensitive medical information falling into the wrong hands such as those at insurance companies, employers, drug companies and marketers is too great.

Medical providers are required to protect medical records under a federal law, known as HIPAA. When people put their records online, they’re no longer protected by that law, says Robert Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant in Washington. He issued a report Wednesday for the World Privacy Forum critical of the personal health record companies.

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