This is in response to the article in Modern Healthcare By Andis Robeznieks: “Under their influence, Washington insiders hold sway over our ’100 Most Influential’ ranking, but real change seems to be coming from elsewhere.”
“The Politics of Privacy” is one of four key areas in Modern Healthcare’s story about the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” in 2011. Privacy was highlighted because the expectation to control personal health data is a truly bipartisan, trans-partisan issue.
The historic first-ever summit on the future of health privacy co-sponsored by Patient Privacy Rights (PPR) and the UT LBJ School in June was highlighted (see www.healthprivacysummit.org to watch videos of the sessions).
The story recognizes the crucial importance of PPR’s leadership on building patients’ rights to control use of the most sensitive personal information into the healthcare system up front, so patients will use and trust health IT systems and data exchanges.
Unfortunately, many of the new consumer privacy protections the Obama Administration supported in the stimulus bill (HITECH) are being implemented by federal agencies in ways that do not comply with HITECH and other existing federal regulations.
If industry and key government rule makers continue to ignore the American people’s expectations for control over the use of sensitive personal health data, the stimulus billions will be wasted on systems that can’t be trusted and the tremendous potential benefits health IT can bring to treatment and research may never be realized.