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IHF Says Google Personal Health-Records System Gives Consumers Greater Control Over Privacy than HIPAA Rules
Date:2/21/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Google's new Personal Health Records (PHRs) prototype provides a model that gives consumers greater control over the flow of their personal health information, than is currently provided under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.

Google notes that its system will help consumers access, store and communicate their health information online. The company's blog posting about the new product declares, "Above all, health data will remain yours -- private and confidential. Only you have control over when to share it with family members and health providers."

Some policy experts have expressed concern that PHRs are not covered under HIPAA rules. "But being covered under HIPAA rules does not guarantee privacy; rather it gives government and the health-care industry control over your personal health information," says Sue Blevins, founder and president of the Institute for Health Freedom.

"Many Americans may not realize that HIPAA rules do not give patients final say over who can access their medical records," Blevins said. "HIPAA rules actually authorize the sharing of patient information with over 600,000 covered entities--without patient consent. In fact, consent is not required when health information is shared for many purposes under HIPAA rules, including purposes related to treatment, payment and managing the health-care system."

Blevins stresses, "Giving consumers control over their personal health information -- rather than government or industry -- is a great step toward health freedom and privacy."

The Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based think tank that supports individuals' freedom to choose their health care and maintain confidential relationships with doctors and other health-care providers. For more information visit: http://www.ForHealthFreedom.org.

Google blog cited: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/pilot-with- cleveland-clinic-for-health.html


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SOURCE Institute for Health Freedom
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