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ACP Weighs in on the Protection of Health Data

October 19, 2011
by root
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The American College of Physicians (ACP) released a policy paper regarding fears about the reuse of personal data as well as the reuse of research data and samples. The new document, which is an update of a paper produced by ACP two years ago, adds a policy position regarding research.

The ACP, which is based out of Philadelphia, Penn. and represents 132,000 internal medicine specialists, subspecialists and medical student across the country, proposes a privacy rule that says researchers should maximize appropriate uses of information to achieve scientific advances without compromising ethical obligations to protect individual welfare and privacy.

The release of “Health Information Technology & Privacy” comes eight days before the close of the comment period for the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) of “Human Subjects Research Protections: Enhancing Protections for Research Subjects and Reducing Burden, Delay, and Ambiguity for Investigators.” The proposed changes, which will be highlighted in ACP’s ANPRM comments, are designed to strengthen protections for human research subjects.

The paper says by including providers, governmental bodies, consumers, payers, quality organizations, researchers, and technologists, the resulting framework would clearly specify appropriate activities – such as treatment, payment, and some health care operations – where sharing of personal health information can proceed without the need for additional consent. Once the boundaries of appropriate data-sharing practices and situations are agreed on, it will be far easier to define consent requirements for appropriate activities.

ACP said it believes in the goal of widespread adoption and use of health information technology (HIT) to improve the quality of care. ACP supports the concept of safe and secure electronic health information exchange (HIE) and advocates that clinical enterprises, entities, and clinicians wishing to share health information develop principles, procedures, and polices appropriate for the electronic exchange of information necessary to optimize patient care.

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