New Ways To Manage Health Data

Michael S. Gerber writes in the Washington Post:

You already bank online and use computer software to do your taxes. So why don’t you trust technology to help you manage your health? Microsoft, Google and more than 100 Web sites offering personal health records know the answer, but they’re betting they can quell your fears about posting your most private information online and get you to sign on soon.


“I think it is unrealistic to be comfortable or feel secure about the privacy of things that are on the Internet,” said Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. Even if an Internet-based PHR has a strong privacy policy and secure technology, an employee of the company could still steal information and sell it to insurers or employers, who could potentially use it to discontinue health coverage or fire a worker, Wolfe warns.

But other experts say the benefits of online PHRs far outweigh the risks. University of North Carolina researcher Gary Marchioni, who has studied online PHRs, says fears about the risks on secure sites are overblown.

“I think [people’s assessment] depends on their level of paranoia,” he said. “It still sort of boils down to how much trust you have in the world.”


Full story – Washington Post

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