AFFIRMATIVE MEDICAL SOLVENCY 233
TECHNOLOGY IS THE ANSWER NOT THE PROBLEM
COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THREATS TO MEDICAL PRIVACY
Paul Starr, Professor of Sociology, Princeton University, "Health and the Right to Privacy," American Journal of Law & Medicine, 1999, 25 Am. J. L. and Med. 193, EE2001-JGM, p. 196
But computerization has only magnified and dramatized a problem that was already developing because of the larger social and economic transformation of health care; and it is a mistake to assign computers the role of villain in this story, when they may, in fact, be a large part of the solution. It would be a dangerous mistake to try to roll back or obstruct computerization of health data, as a few have urged - that is a hopeless and misdirected cause. The source of change is not so much technological as it is economic. As health care has been transformed into a complex industry representing one-seventh of the economy, organizations of all kinds - employers, insurers, plans, networks, systems, pharmaceutical makers, device makers and many others - have had growing interests in data to control their costs, increase their revenues or improve their performance in some other dimension. They have been willing to invest in information, to pay for information, to sell information - information itself has become a business. This is what we expect in an information society. In this case, unfortunately, much of the information concerns the personal health of patients and customers. Buying and selling such information - applying such information for purposes unrelated to those for which patients originally provided it, and possibly harmful to their interests - is not what the public expects or approves.
IT IS GREED AND ECONOMICS WHICH THREATEN MEDICAL PRIVACY, NOT TECHNOLOGY
Julie Appleby, USA TODAY, March 23, 2000, SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A TITLE: File safe? Health records may not be confidential // acs-VT2001
Some privacy experts say the fear that technology will make medical records less private is misplaced. But nearly all agree that more protection is needed, for both paper and electronic records.
"Threats to health information are driven by greed and economics, not technology," say Jack Segal, spokesman for the American Health Information Management Association, a group representing 40,000 medical record managers.
"People shouldn't be afraid of the technology," he says. "What should concern them is the lack of a federal law that says, 'You company (drug manufacturers, insurers, etc.) have to handle this information in a certain way that protects it.' "