MEDICAL PRIVACY: Majority Protest Access to Records
An "overwhelming majority of Americans" do not want their medical records or genetic information accessible to government agencies or third parties without their permission, a new Gallup poll, sponsored by the Institute for Health Freedom, finds. The survey, titled "Public Attitudes Toward Medical Privacy," gathered information via telephone from 1,000 adults across the United States between August 11 and 26, and reported the following results:
- 78% of respondents say that it is "very important" for their medical records to be kept confidential;
- 93% say that consent should be obtained before medical and government researchers are permitted to study an individual's genetic information;
- 92% object to a government agency's review of their medical records without consent; 82% oppose an unconsented review by insurance companies; and 67% oppose researcher access to their medical records without patient permission; and
- 91% are against a federal requirement to "assign everyone a medical identification number" to build a national medical database.