MEDICAL PRIVACY: Gore Urges ‘Electronic Bill Of Rights’
Vice President Al Gore yesterday "officially announce[d] -- and urge[d] Congress to adopt -- a new 'Electronic Bill of Rights' that would guarantee the privacy of medical records" and other important personal information. The New York Times reports that the Clinton administration initiative includes "a call for legislation to restrict unwanted dissemination of medical records." In addition, the White House wants to: convene "a conference to address issues surrounding privacy in the information age;" set up a government Website "to help individuals block access to their personal records"; and establish a new government office "to insure the appropriate use of the federal government's data" (Honan, 5/15). Touting the initiative in a speech at New York University's commencement, Gore said, "Everybody gets your (medical) records now, insurance companies, pharmacies ... mass marketers, credit bureaus. There's very little protection in current law" (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/15). Click here to see a press release from Gore's office.
Thanks, But Keep In Mind...
A statement released by Linda Kloss, executive vice president of the American Health Information Management Association, "applauds" Gore's remarks, but adds that "it is imperative that we do not make technology the culprit." Kloss continues: "Misuses of information are the result of carelessness and greed, not technology. The most effective way to protect electronic information is to develop policies, procedures and an overall national mindset that lessen the potential for carelessness, ban the unauthorized use of information beyond its initial purpose and impose civil and criminal penalties upon those who violate these principles" (AHIMA release, 5/14).