Last month we explored the privacy and trust considerations surrounding virtual health communities, online portals where people post their private medical information in hopes of gaining knowledge and helping others.
This month we turn to another online health paradigm that lives or dies by patient trust: electronic medical records (EMRs). President Obama asserts that, by 2014, the health records of all Americans will be stored electronically. Easy for him to say, writer Larry Dobrow found out when talking to those entrenched in the day-to-day realities of the U.S. healthcare industry, who cite patchwork state laws, interoperability issues, and politics as usual as monstrous impediments to bringing records online.
Protecting them once they are there is another can of worms, yet one that could make or break the success of EMRs. With this in mind, writes Dobrow, the government well could heed the approach of those in the private sector whose bottom line depends upon the trust of those who entrust in them their private health data. "Don't underestimate the role of public trust," says one.
J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP
Executive Director, IAPP