Electronic medical records on the sale need to be protected

by | Oct 16, 2010

There are many serious issues concerning to update and running of Medical records in America and one of them is selling out of Medical health records as preserved in digital form as well as in preserved in hard copies. As Medical health records provides very relevant and key information to researchers and despite all government regulations research groups lobbies very hard to have access to that very important data despite being regulations under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect patients the researchers get very  broad access rights to health care records under HIPAA. The rules are too loose out there and one can have an easy and prompt access to them after a bit manipulation to data.

As in US all medical records would go digital by 2014 under the provision of President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Under the provisions of Obama’s economic stimulus package there is a provision that physicians can store patient data in the cloud. To boost the security of data as further enacted by the provisions of Stimulus Package, the US congress has passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act alongside the stimulus, that is for issuing security to those records that are going to be digital. The 2009 stimulus bill also offers financial incentives for companies that create electronic records.

This has led health care agencies to search for the companies which help them to store and collect electronic data.  A report last week emerged in Texas watchdog publication called the Austin Bulldog stated that, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is in process of selling de-identified patient data to person who says that it is useful for research.  However, de-identification process is not as robust as it should be as it means changing some of the digits in the pateint’s zip code yet the dates of the hospital visit, and providing an age range instead of patients’ actual age. However, most of records still include diagnoses, gender, address, billing information, and information about patients’ next of kin.  Hence, there is too much force upon the agencies regulating HIPAA to get over this problem and protect the privacy of patient’s data.

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