Physicians, surgeons urge states to guard patient privacy

At a meeting of the State Alliance for e-Health last week, a representative of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons urged the newly formed organization to use care when it comes to patient privacy. Kathryn Serkes, a public affairs officer for AAPS told the Alliance that healthcare IT should be market driven and patient-centered.
“Privacy is the biggest concern,” Serkes said. “I keep hearing that privacy and consent laws are barriers to implementation. Our concern is that this will lead to a push to dumb down privacy and consent laws and this raises red flags for us.”
According to Serkes, federal and state efforts to advance healthcare IT may be “going about it backwards.”
“Instead of looking at what needs to be changed in privacy and consent laws, maybe we need to look at health information exchange,” Serkes said. “Maybe healthcare IT poses a threat to privacy and consent.”
Serkes said the AAPS stand on privacy is supported by the public. She cited a March 26 Harris poll that found one in six adults, 38 million Americans, withhold information from their healthcare providers due to worries about how their medical data might be disclosed.
{Kathryn Serkes with AAPS discussed the threat health IT poses to medical privacy rights at the State Alliance for e-Health. She recommends that “ownership of the records should stay with the patient.” ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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