Legislative Issues Surrounding the Confidentiality of Health Records.

by Willis H. Ware

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback10 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Who and what organizations should be permitted full medical information and for what purposes? How should medical information be safeguarded and restricted to proper use? Should there be any part of health records immune to court writ? This discussion of issues involved in proposed privacy legislation considers the problem of access to health records from several viewpoints: (1) the need for citizens to be aware of the existance of health-record databanks; (2) the harm to individuals caused through unauthorized use of health records; and (3) the risks involved in allowing patients access to health records. The author suggests amending the present draft legislation to permit patients to examine medical records only when circumstances warrant, but stresses the need for an "appeal mechanism" to protect patients and a mechanism to absolve physicians of undesirable consequences issuing from the appeal process. "While much of the presently proposed privacy legislation is satisfactory for, and will cause no essential problem to, health-care-record information systems," says the author, "there are a few areas that will require special treatment under the law." 10 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.