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Outlines the dramatic changes in medical recordkeeping and describes measures proposed to counter threats to the privacy of patients. Medical records used to be a private matter between patient and physician. Now they are being widely used for employment, insurance, litigation, and government records. Because of traditional practices in medical care, the records tend to be shared freely, eroding their confidentiality and depriving the patient of control over who sees them and how they are used. Many hospitals, for example, inadequately protect records, and do not have controls for access to them. The Privacy Protection Study Commission, created by a 1974 Congressional act, has proposed measures to remedy these deficiencies and to guarantee the patient's right to see and correct his records and to be informed if they are released without his authorization.

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