RTI study raises a wide array of reactions

Reactions varied widely between technology vendors, privacy advocates and government and clinical IT leaders questioned about a federally sponsored study that calls for re-engineering electronic health record systems so they can be used by payers as fraud-fighting tools.

The report includes a call for a controversial requirement that EHR developers build into their systems’ portals that allow payers to access physicians’ EHRs and patients’ longitudinal medical records.

Government contractors and the top federal healthcare IT official were either enthusiastic or at least accepting of the proposals; healthcare information technology vendors were both critical and supportive; a physician IT leader had a mixed reaction; and privacy advocates were caustic and combative.

And in an ironic twist, one EHR company executive said the call for auditing access doesn’t go far enough, that the electronic peepholes insurance companies want installed in physician EHR systems should be placed in the payers’ IT systems as well.

{“This story shows that Dr. Kolodner, the National Coordinator for Health IT, and Michael Leavitt, Secretary of HHS, plan to press to open everyone’s entire electronic health records to prevent healthcare fraud. Bad idea. The cure for fraud is to eliminate the unfettered access to personal health information that HHS granted to over 4 million health-related businesses in 2002. Kolodner and Leavitt are faced with trying to prevent the rampant fraud that is inevitable if we build an electronic healthcare system without patient control of access to personal health records. Isn’t it time for Leavitt and Kolodner to reverse HHS’ disastrous decision to eliminate patient privacy? Leavitt was quoted as saying, ‘The topic of privacy often just runs head on with fraud.’ No, it does not. The patient’s right to privacy—the right to control access to his/her health records—is actually the best way to prevent fraud. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights”}

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