NEGATIVE MEDICAL INHERENCY 240
DATA USER COMMUNITY PROTECTS MEDICAL PRIVACY
THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH CAN PROTECT MEDICAL PRIVACY
CHARLES J. SYKES, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 14, 1999, SECTION: Crossroads Pg. 1 TITLE: PRIVATE MATTERS Who has access to your medical files? // acs-EE2001
Perhaps the only real guarantee is the oldest one. The Hippocratic oath dates from the fifth century B.C., but it seems remarkably timely: "What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself holding such things shameful to be spoken about."
THE DATA USER COMMUNITY NOW PROTECTS HEALTH CONSUMERS
Helena Gail Rubinstein, Director of Policy Analysis and Program Development, Group Insurance Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; "If I Am Only for Myself, What Am I? A Communitarian Look at the Privacy Stalemate," American Journal of Law & Medicine, 1999, 25 Am. J. L. and Med. 203, EE2001-JGM, p.222
. Viewed from the health care consumer's perspective, the claims of the data user community are not insubstantial. As never before, consumers of health care hold the medical community accountable for low-cost and effective treatment. n149 Assessment of physician performance has undergone a paradigm shift, from anecdotal evidence to data-driven guidelines. In this new environment, "scarcely a day goes by in Washington's health policy community without some recitation of the demand for evidence-based assessments of clinical practice, report cards" n150 and other expressions of information-based assessment tools. In response to the demands of consumer advocates, the bodies that accredit health care organizations now provide Internet access to data on the performance of accredited organizations, thereby facilitating informed purchasing choices. n151 Health policy analysts and clinical researchers who utilize medical records and insurance claims data to evaluate the quality and cost effectiveness of medical care provide information that health care purchasers need to make informed decisions. Legislation that impedes the flow of data to health researchers will threaten the very research that is popular with health care consumers, such as studies examining the health risks of cigarette smoking, obesity and occupational exposure to chemicals.