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Technology Companies, Providers, Health Insurers and Consumer Groups Agree on Framework for Increasing PRIVACY and CONSUMER Control Over Personal Health Records

Thursday, June 26, 2008 General News J E 4
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Diverse Groups - Including AARP, America's Health Insurance Plans, Dossia, Google, Intuit, Microsoft, WebMD - Endorse Markle Foundation Collaboration to Increase Consumer Access to Personal Health Information



New Public Opinion Survey Shows Overwhelming Consumer Support for Practices to Enhance Consumer Participation and Protect Information



NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dossia, Google, Intuit, Microsoft, and WebMD today joined prominent health care providers, health insurers, and consumer and privacy groups in endorsing a set of practices for new internet services that help consumers track and improve their health. The framework defines a set of practices that can help protect personal information and enhance consumer participation in online personal health records.



"Consumer demand for electronic personal health records and online health services will take off when consumers trust that personal information will be protected," said Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation, which organized the consensus framework. "We have broken the typical logjam in health care and reached a consensus among health sectors and technology innovators, so internet health information products can flourish."



The announcement comes as technology companies, health care delivery systems, health insurers, large employers, and others are proliferating options for consumers to keep their own copies of health information and connect to health-related services online. However, this emerging, innovative new space is evolving without a common set of information practices and expectations.



"We have achieved the first detailed, consensus-based approach to consumer access and privacy practices for important new internet-based health information services," said Carol Diamond, MD, MPH, Markle managing director and chair of Connecting for Health. "A stable, common-sense set of principles and practices will foster innovation and improve consumer choice for these emerging services."



The framework -- developed by the Markle-operated Connecting for Health public-private collaboration -- includes four overviews and 14 specific technology and policy approaches for consumers to access health services, to obtain and control copies of health information about them, to authorize the sharing of their information with others, and sound privacy and security practices.



In 2006, Connecting for Health released a framework of policy and technology resources for privacy and security in internet-based networks connecting medical professionals from different institutions and clinics. The new framework deals with networks that include individual consumers as participants who can collect their information, store it in applications they control, and share it with whom they want.



The following organizations today endorsed the framework:



AARP -- Aetna -- American Academy of Family Physicians -- Association of Online Cancer Resources (ACOR.org) -- America's Health Insurance Plans -- BlueCross BlueShield Association -- CapMed -- Center for Democracy and Technology -- Center on Medical Record Rights and Privacy -- Cisco Systems Inc. -- Consumers Union -- Dossia -- FollowMe -- Google -- Geisinger Health System -- Health Care For All -- InterComponentWare Inc. -- Intuit Inc. -- MedicAlert -- Microsoft Corp. -- National Breast Cancer Coalition -- National Partnership for Women and Families -- New York-Presbyterian Hospital -- Pacific Business Group on Health -- Palo Alto Medical Foundation -- Partners Healthcare System -- RxHub -- SureScripts -- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs -- Vanderbilt Center for Better Health -- WebMD



"Some of the new services aren't covered under federal health information privacy laws, and there is uncertainty about privacy protections," s
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