With all the rules and regulations in the healthcare industry, we have been groomed to assume our medical records are protected and only seen by those authorized. However, a recent article in the New York Times “When 2+2 Equals a Privacy Question” and covered by Kim Zetter of Wired Magazine dispels that belief.
Zetter reports that “As part of their contracts with the vendors, doctors are agreeing to let some vendors access and collect patient data, scrub it of personally identifying information, and sell it in bulk to pharmaceutical companies and other buyers, the Times reports.”
You may not see a problem if the identifying data is “scrubbed”, however, the articles report that the data isn’t being scrubbed well enough by many of the vendors out there selling it as a commodity in the $8-10 billion health record systems market.
We’ve all signed those HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) forms over the past few years. These are supposed to protect our electronic medical records from being seen by anyone not involved in providing us health care, paying for our care or conducting health care research. It seems there needs to be tighter regulations on the scrubbing of data and how vendors can use the data? Feel free to share your thoughts below. If you’d like to share this post, just click one or more of the buttons below to share it with your friends and colleagues.