Your E-Health Records (Editorial)
As part of the stimulus package, $20 billion will be pumped into the health care system to accelerate the use of electronic health records. The goal is both to improve the quality and lower the costs of care by replacing cumbersome paper records with electronic records that can be easily stored and swiftly transmitted.
The idea is sound, but it also raises important questions about how to ensure the privacy of patients. Fortunately, the legislation would impose sensible privacy protections despite attempts by business lobbyists to weaken the safeguards.[…]
Health insurance plans and some disease management groups are complaining that the new requirements would impose administrative burdens that could actually impede the use of electronic records and interfere with coordination of care. They want to ease the marketing restrictions, notify patients only if security breaches are harmful, and keep the attorneys general out of the enforcement role.
It should be possible through implementing regulations to fine-tune the privacy requirements so that they do not disrupt patient care. Congress must make every effort to ensure that patientsâ€™ privacy is protected.
Source – New York Times