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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Are Your Medical Records Vulnerable To Theft?


Probably not. A major criticism of electronic medical records in America is that the companies that make them have financial incentives to keep them from being easily shared. It's kind of like Windows versus Mac operating systems. Many companies are trying to win market share by creating software that doesn't “talk” to that made by other companies, so if a big hospital uses software from company X, then all the doctors that work with that hospital will have an incentive to buy that software, too.

If you're unconscious and an ambulance takes you to a hospital you've been to before, they can probably call up their records for you if you're carrying some kind of identification. But they may not be able to access pertinent information stored on other doctors or hospitals' computers.

Some states have good clearinghouses that allow health care providers to pull in all of a patient's digital health files, but they're still the exception at this point.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wed, Aug 20 2014

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