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HIPAA Privacy Rule Impedes Biomedical Research
Date:6/16/2008

AAHC Report Recommends Alternatives to Protect Privacy and Advance Healthcare

WASHINGTON, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is having a negative impact on the advance of biomedical research and the search for treatments that benefit society, says a newly-released report by the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). HIPAA Creating Barriers to Research and Discovery describes the unintended disruptive consequences of the rule, including confusion for patients, misinterpretation by research participants, barriers to patient recruitment, and burdensome administrative procedures that increase research costs. It also offers specific recommendations to address these critical issues.

"The negative impact on participant recruitment was perceived to be one of the greatest threats that HIPAA poses to research," says Dr. Daniel Dorsa, vice president for research at Oregon Health & Science University and chairman of the AAHC vice presidents for research workgroup on HIPAA. In practice, HIPAA may not offer any greater protection than the longstanding regulations in the research arena, says the AAHC. More importantly, the rule's goal of protection through informed consent is undermined by the complexity of consent forms that are required of patients and participants, which approach a level of incomprehensibility to average individuals.

"Protection of the patient and health information is always paramount when it comes to research conducted at academic health centers throughout the nation," says AAHC President Dr. Steven A. Wartman. "We now know that the privacy rule is having a serious and detrimental impact on research and ultimately patients. Solutions to problems generated by the privacy rule, as outlined in this report, should be pushed forward to protect privacy while ensuring the nation's biomedical research endeavors do not suffer in the near or long term
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SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers
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