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Privacy is Important but…

by John Moore | June 06, 2008

Is all this talk about privacy actually hindering HIT adoption?

This week, a congressional panel is once again talking about the need to aggressively move forward to drive adoption for IT in the healthcare sector.  While IT is certainly no panacea for all of the numerous ills that afflict this broken system, it certainly can help.

Unfortunately, part of the problem, as I related in yesterday’s post, is tradition.  And part of the problem is fear among care practices that sunk costs into a IT solution will not be recouped, or worse yet, the solution will be a drain on productivity and resources.

The congressional panel met to discuss this issue and what the federal government can do to move the ball forward.  However, based on the article, it appears that the privacy rights advocates were at it again.  I don’t necessarily begrudge their efforts, but I do find their relentless bantering on the privacy subject tiresome and worrisome.  The latter is of particular concern for what this focus on privacy does is redirect the conversation from a true risk/benefit analysis, to one where only risk is addressed.

At the end of the day, privacy and security laws for medical records are by and large adequate.  Consistency of those laws across the country is less clear and that may be an area where the federal government can exert some influence that would truly be of benefit for all.  In the near term, however, the real need is devising methods and models that will encourage the adoption of IT, not stall it.

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