Medical Records Are an Open Book

By T. Evan Schaeffer | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 8, 1996 | Go to article overview

Medical Records Are an Open Book


T. Evan Schaeffer, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Profound changes are under way that threaten the confidentiality of medical records - records that contain not only the potentially embarrassing medical secrets you tell your doctor but details about where you live, what you earn and other personal information that can be used, or misused, for a variety of purposes. With changes in the way these records are stored, maintained and exchanged, a patient's privacy is at risk as never before.

The old paper-based system of recording medical information - in efficient perhaps, but easier to keep private - is for the most part a thing of the past. What's replacing it? Computerized systems in which your secrets are transmitted through cyberspace from your treating physicians to insurers, oversight agencies and others with an interest in the cost of your medical care.

With the growth of HMOs and health networks, these computerized systems often include electronic depositories of patient information, which insurers and others can access from remote locations throughout the country. No one tells you who's looking because no one is required to.

A further complication is the rise of commercial information companies. In 1995, Equifax - the country's largest dispenser of credit reports - announced its intention to enter the computerized medical records industry. Although a joint venture among AT&T, Equifax, and others has been temporarily put on hold, Equifax still intends to tap into this growth industry.

Medical information is fast becoming a commodity. And when your secrets can be bought and sold, you should be concerned about who is looking at your medical records, and why.

Horror stories abound. A New York psychiatrist was asked to leave detailed information about a patient's infidelity and other sensitive matters on an insurance company's answering machine. Tennis star Arthur Ashe's AIDS condition was made public through a leaked report. A convicted child rapist with access to computerized medical records obtained phone numbers that he used to call young girls.

Many think the confidentiality of their medical records is protected by federal law. Not so. Though a proposed federal law - the Medical Records Confidentiality Act of 1995, called the "Bennett Bill" - is being considered by the Senate, the privacy of medical records is now governed only by state law. Many states, however, don't protect the confidentiality of medical records. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Medical Records Are an Open Book
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.