Consumer control and privacy protections are key to getting the general public on board with electronic health records, but all too often those ideas are shunned by federal lawmakers and regulatory agencies, a host of privacy advocates told members of Congress.
Going forward without privacy protections is putting the cart before the horse, said Dane von Breichenruchardt, president of the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, at a Capitol Hill news conference aimed at swaying lawmakers to include consumer protections in pending health information-technology legislation.
A letter sent to lawmakers from the Coalition for Patient Privacy calls on Congress to set into law national privacy standards, removing the job from government agencies whose oversight the coalition says has been lax at best.
The letter comes as the House and Senate are considering legislation for a national electronic health-information system, primarily in the Wired for Health Care Quality Act. Deborah Peel, founder and chairwoman of Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, however, said that the bill fails to protect consumers. The false arguments that consumer control of access to health information is too expensive or will obstruct the flow of health information have been laid to rest, she said. -- by Matthew DoBias
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