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HIPAA: Tension Between Privacy and Access

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—U.S.

April 14, 2011

The safeguards in place to protect health records under HIPAA often prevent efficient access by a patient's doctor or an emergency room physician, the Chicago Tribune reports. "You want to protect privacy and allow data flow," said Deven McGraw of the Center for Democracy & Technology. "It's not either or. It's yes and..." The article points out that HIPAA became law before the digitization of health records and "many medical institutions overreacted to the law by being too stingy about sharing information." Some advocates think the law is outdated, "partly because it applies chiefly to the medical industry and not to others who might gain access to data after a privacy breach."
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