Dr. Kenneth D. Mandl and Dr. Isaac S. Kohane have written
an article in The New England Journal of
Medicine, warning consumers that the entry of big guns like Google and Microsoft
into the medical records business would raise privacy concerns.
The main reason for their concern is that Microsoft or
Google would not be bound by the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act, or Hipaa, which regulates patient privacy.
They feel that consumer control of personal data under
internet system would be an open invitation for false marketing and all sorts
Dr. Mandl and Dr. Kohane welcome the core development of
electronic medical records, but they say there are some legitimate concerns,
"In very short order, a few large companies could hold larger patient databases
than any clinical research center anywhere," Dr. Mandl said.
They argue that
safeguards have to be installed in order to ensure that patients and consumers
are assured of their privacy.