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Let the punishment match the offense

February 1, 2009
by James Feldbaum
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Today’s New York Times printed an editorial entitled “Your E-Health records.” As could be expected, the chief issue is one of privacy. The potential for abuse is described as “as vast as the internet.” A letter to Congress from the American Civil Liberty Union did a good job enumerating the nefarious abuse potential of the EMR when in the wrong hands. Still, the “opinion” was pretty even-handed and borderline optimistic.

By frequently auditing the trail of information, inappropriate access can be discovered and prosecuted. A few well publicized criminal prosecutions could go a long way to reducing the temptation to misuse the information we need so desperately to improve the care of our patients.

Let the punishment match the offense.

Cicero (106 BC- 43 BC)

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