Microsoft May Put Health Records at Risk

It's bad enough when you're sick or injured; you're at your most vulnerable. You don't want to be worrying about someone getting at your personal information and health records at the same time. That's what some fear may happen with the advent of a new medical records management site.

Microsoft has rolled out a Web site called HealthVault, a new medical records site described as "part filing cabinet, part library." Users can get on the site to store and manage their own medical records, including reports from regular physicals, immunization records and reports from specialists. They can also opt to have information sent to other doctors as needed.

Although the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives doctors and those in the medical profession broad access to patient records, privacy experts fear that the easy access granted by a site like HealthVault opens the door for abuse. Giving patients control over their data adds to their convenience, but they may not always be as careful as they should be.

How do you feel health records should be managed? Do laws like HIPAA do enough? Should it be more expansive? In this age of open information, can such personal data ever be truly safe? You'll feel better if you let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Lafe Low on October 10, 2007 at 11:57 AM


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