The Center for Democracy & Technology today released a report recommending privacy and security protections for personal health records (PHRs). CDT believes PHRs should be subject to comprehensive policies comprised of a mix of legal requirements and voluntary best practices. CDT’s recommendations – summarized below – are designed to preserve public trust in PHRs and enable the field to flourish.
A PHR is essentially an electronic tool that enables consumers to store, manage, use, and share their personal health information. A key characteristic of PHRs is the high degree of control the individual consumer – not the health care provider – has over the service, including what data gets uploaded to the PHR and with whom it is shared. Through PHRs, people can monitor chronic conditions, explore treatment and insurance options, ensure their health information is correct, share data with others to gain insight and support, and hold their providers to high standards of accountability. However, the success of PHRs will depend in substantial part on whether consumers trust that their sensitive information is protected.
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