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Should Americans Move to Unique Health Identifiers?

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—U.S.

January 23, 2012

Is it time for every American to be assigned a unique healthcare identification number? That's the question The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) examines in a recent article on the pros and cons, noting the U.S.'s shift from paper to electronic records. Proponents of universal patient identifiers (UPIs) say they are the most efficient way to connect patients to their medical data, the report states, and also will help to connect doctors and information flows. But privacy advocates say medical data is already collected and sold to marketers without patient consent and UPIs would only make that easier, among other concerns. The WSJ is now taking a reader poll on the topic. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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