Safeguarding Private Medical Data

This editorial appeared in the New York Times today:

Almost 2,500 patients taking part in a federal medical trial recently had their private health data compromised when a researcher’s laptop computer was stolen. The National Institutes of Health, which was responsible for safeguarding the data, made things worse by delaying in notifying the patients. This disturbing incident underscores the need for a strong federal law to protect medical privacy and for greater responsibility by those who handle sensitive medical information.

[…]

There should be a federal law imposing strict privacy safeguards on all government and private entities handling medical data. Congress should pass a bill like the Trust Act, introduced by Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat of Massachusetts, imposing mandatory encryption requirements and deadlines for notifying patients when their privacy is breached. As the N.I.H. has shown, medical privacy is too important to be left up to the medical profession.

Full story – New York Times 

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