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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

New Data Rules Could Empower Patients but Undermine Their Privacy

Natasha Singer
The New York Times
Originally posted 9 March 20

Here is an excerpt:

The Department of Health and Human Services said the new system was intended to make it as easy for people to manage their health care on smartphones as it is for them to use apps to manage their finances.

Giving people access to their medical records via mobile apps is a major milestone for patient rights, even as it may heighten risks to patient privacy.

Prominent organizations like the American Medical Association have warned that, without accompanying federal safeguards, the new rules could expose people who share their diagnoses and other intimate medical details with consumer apps to serious data abuses.

Although Americans have had the legal right to obtain a copy of their personal health information for two decades, many people face obstacles in getting that data from providers.

Some physicians still require patients to pick up computer disks — or even photocopies — of their records in person. Some medical centers use online portals that offer access to basic health data, like immunizations, but often do not include information like doctors’ consultation notes that might help patients better understand their conditions and track their progress.

The new rules are intended to shift that power imbalance toward the patient.

The info is here.