State privacy laws may undercut electronic medical records
John Timmer writes in Ars Technica:
The US government has now adopted a policy of fostering the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR). The policy is intended to increase the efficiency of the US healthcare system, thereby lowering costs and reducing the incidence of preventable errors. At the same time, through its The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, the government has set minimum standards for the security of those records. These two goalsâ€”privacy and security of these records, along with their free interchange among medical providersâ€”can easily wind up at odds with each other. A recent study that looked at the role of state privacy laws in EMR adoption suggests that the problem is very real, as state privacy laws seem to inhibit the use of EMR by hospitals located there.
The study he is discussing is:
Miller, Amalia R. and Tucker, Catherine: Privacy Protection and Technology Diffusion: The Case of Electronic Medical Records (February 5, 2008). NET Institute Working Paper No. 07-16. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=960233 and is available in free full-text form for download.