In regard to Todd Sloane’s article Privacy could be IT standards’ deal-breaker: There are two kinds of privacy concerns–liability to patients from unauthorized access and liability to patients from authorized access. Unauthorized breaches usually involve theft of PCs or illegal sale of personal healthcare information. Authorized breaches are the perfunctory and quotidian flows of patient information among organizations involved in healthcare matters.
Given the nature of journalism in America, the former kind of privacy breaches get the news but the fundamental threat to the average patient lies with authorized breaches. This is because there is an conflict of interest between patients on the one hand and the healthcare industry, insurance industry and employers on the other; the conflict is not accidental but inherent in a corporate, multipayer healthcare delivery system. Because the corporate players can buy the legislation they want, they will block any legislation—such as a ‘patients’ bill of rights’—that places patients’ interests above theirs.
Over the past 60 years the healthcare and insurance industries have shown that they will do everything they can to prevent any erosion of their incomes. And now that healthcare costs have exceeded 16% of the GDP and climbing, employers have joined them and are shifting the burden of healthcare to employees in the form of higher premiums and deductibles, while denial of coverage becaue of ‘pre-existing conditions’ proliferates. What all this means is that if our health information can be used against us it will be used against us, and in lieu of massive organization there is little we can do to stop it. We Americans will be stripped of our healthcare privacy to ensure that corporate interests can control and reduce healthcare costs. This is not because of any evil conspiracy but just because that is how our system of business and government works. If by some historical anomaly that doesn’t happen, then more and more jobs will be offshored.