Stolen medical records can be costly, deadly

Tom Kisken writes in the Ventura County Star: When identity theft happens in hospitals or medical offices, money may be the least of the victim’s worries. Often, the crimes involve an employee who has access to records and sells them, said. The buyers start cautiously. They...

DNA database creates genetic surveillance

An Op-Ed on Gazette.net by Gerald G. Stansbury of the Maryland State NAACP; June White Dillard of the Prince George’s Branch NAACP; and Cynthia Boersma of the ACLU of Maryland addresses proposed legislation in Maryland: Warrantless seizure of DNA from individuals who are arrested but not convicted of crimes is being considered in the...

UK: 300,000 prescriptions lost by NHS

The BBC reports: Thousands of prescription forms, carrying the names and addresses of patients, go missing every year as they are transported around the NHS. The government has admitted that almost 300,000 have been lost or stolen in England since 1997. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said handling of personal information was “serially incompetent”....

New image technique could allow scanners to read minds

James Randerson writes in the Guardian: Scientists have developed a mind-reading technique that allows them to accurately predict images being viewed by people, by using scanners to study brain activity. The breakthrough by American scientists took MRI scanning equipment normally used in surgical procedures to observe patterns of brain activity when a subject examined...

Will privacy keep Health 2.0 from the starting gate?

Business journalist Dana Blankenhorn writes on ZDNet: Just two weeks ago the World Privacy Forum, ironically also based in San Diego, came out with two warnings about Personal Health Records (PHRs) which made them appear to be a tragedy waiting to happen. PHRs, once placed online, are not covered by HIPAA, the forum...

In the UK, two more stolen hospital laptops cause worry

Although I do not include them in the chronologies of medical privacy breaches available on this site, I do note medical privacy breaches in other countries. Two more reports out of the U.K. this morning are noteworthy. The first involves the Telford & Wrekin Primary Care Trust: A laptop with confidential information about more...

Virginia: Mental health bills head to Kaine

Mason Adams and Michael Sluss write in The Roanoke Times: The General Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a package of bills intended to reform Virginia’s mental health system and fill long-neglected gaps exposed by April’s shootings at Virginia Tech. The legislation would ease Virginia’s standard for involuntary commitment and improve monitoring of...

Illinois: Repeal of act requiring students to report their HIV status defeated

Meagan Sexton writes: The Illinois House on Tuesday rejected legislation that would repeal the state’s Communicable Disease Prevention Act, which requires students to report their HIV status to principals. The legislation attracted 43 “yes” votes and 62 “no” votes. House Bill 4314 was an attempt to repeal the existing law that permits a school...

Minnesota: Legislation would open up adoption records

People who were adopted would have access to their original birth certificate under a bill that’s been introduced to the Minnesota legislature. The access would allow people who were adopted to find out the names of their birth parents. The bill is facing opposition by some adoption agencies, because some birth parents may not...