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ACP: Time for a privacy law to protect patient data

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The American College of Physicians (ACP) has voiced concerns about data quality and privacy in the re-use of patient information.

In a new policy paper, Health Information Technology and Privacy, the organization suggests a privacy rule should be introduced which ensures researchers maximize the appropriate use of information without compromising individual rights.

"Patients need to feel confident that they can receive needed healthcare without the risk that their private information will be inappropriately disclosed, which might result in withholding of information … and negative clinical consequences," said Virginia Hood, president of the ACP.

She goes on to suggest that as healthcare data management systems shift from paper-based to electronically stored records, now is the time for clarification on the privacy parameters for use of patient information in research.

It was recently announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services has begun publishing hospital data online, in order to provide patients with a full analysis of how their local facility is performing.

Posted by Paul Newton