Oregon may need stronger laws to protect medical records

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Oregon may need stronger laws to protect medical records

Postby Webmaster » February 25th, 2005, 10:54 am

Oregon Health Forum, December 1999

Oregon may need stronger laws to protect medical records

In transitioning from paper to digital medical records, physicians often find they no longer hold the only set of keys to their filing cabinets. Computerization of health information and other technological developments have made insurers, state agencies and health care administrators equal gatekeepers - increasing the potential for disclosure and the need for comprehensive medical privacy legislation.

"Without the security of medical confidentiality, people begin engaging in privacy protective behaviors," said Peter Kane, executive director of the National Coalition for Patients' Rights. "They isolate information from their doctors, or don't go for treatment at all. That endangers the quality of the health care system and has serious health repercussions for the individual."

Although the federal government has previously enacted laws to protect the privacy of health data - including the privacy act, the freedom of information act and the electronic communications privacy act - these statutes do not provide far-reaching protection, nor do they reflect the new challenges inherent to the electronic age.
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