State privacy laws may undercut electronic medical records

20 04 2009

The US government has now adopted a policy of fostering the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR). The policy is intended to increase the efficiency of the US healthcare system, thereby lowering costs and reducing the incidence of preventable errors. At the same time, through its The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, the government has set minimum standards for the security of those records. These two goals—privacy and security of these records, along with their free interchange among medical providers—can easily wind up at odds with each other. A recent study that looked at the role of state privacy laws in EMR adoption suggests that the problem is very real, as state privacy laws seem to inhibit the use of EMR by hospitals located there.

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