The Real Elephant in the Room? Patient Empowerment Not Privacy

Seen on the Patient Empowerment  blog:

I read yet another article (this one online at FoxNews Business) where privacy concerns screamed louder than the benefits of empowering patients through the their use of personal health records.

Now, I agree that privacy issues are important–of course we all want to be sure that our medical information is safe, secure and only accessible to those health care providers who have our permission. But I wonder if media reports sounding the privacy alarms over and over and over again when it comes to online health records is more the result of reporters not really understanding the technology behind the PHR and EHR products on the market today, how they work, how they protect patient privacy (and to what extent),and not really understanding the governments privacy rules under HIPAA enough to explain to consumers why certain PHR/EHR products aren’t HIPAA compliant. More importantly, no one ever seems to explain why consumers should care about HIPAA and how these rules relate to online health records.

I worry that the continued lumping of all PHR/EHR products together in the ongoing debate about privacy issues when it comes to online health records is unfairly and prematurely giving all PHR/EHR products a bum rap.

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