Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

New Privacy Rules May Not Protect Your Electronic Health Info


Final federal privacy rules expected later this year will set new protections for personal medical information that is transmitted electronically. But the rules will not set security standards to prove that high-tech information systems preserve privacy.

That raises some troubling possibilities. Testimony from Gregory Hedges, an Arthur Andersen technology risk consultant, recalls that a "dot com" music retailer recently had 500,000 credit card numbers stolen from its system. "If 500,000 medical records were stolen ... and that information was disclosed to the public, it would forever be publicly known and potentially abused no matter how much money was used to try to correct the problem."

NIST and various information firms are researching new technology for scrambling access codes that is likely to be prominent in whatever security standard emerges. But health information companies are calling for additional government guidance to help them agree on security standards, saying they can't go it alone. "Only the federal government has enough influence to organize the efforts," Lorton says.

"It does not appear that competition in these various areas will allow the health care industry to solve its security problems without significant confusion and false starts," says Jeffery Hodge, vice president of health initiatives at, an electronic data security firm based in Houston.

The industry's plea got a sympathetic listen from the subcommittee. "These problems are solvable," says Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.). Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.), chair of the panel, is asking that firms help her write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services for assistance in crafting security standards to implement the new privacy rules.

How tight should security standards be, before they impose serious costs or inconveniences? Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) likened this consideration to automobile safety, where additional highway deaths are tolerated as a trade-off against the added expense of steel cages to protect occupants from crashes.

According to Hodge, it may be security breaches that will drive demand for tighter standards. "The public has already decided" that it wants the Internet, he says. "The public will tell us what we need to do."

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices