British Medical Journal Interviews National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Brailer, MD, PhD

BMJ (British Medical Journal) interviews David Brailer, the National Health Information Technology Coordinator for the United States and he touches on HIPAA regulations being sufficient protection for patient privacy when email is getting used more and more.

Interview with National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Brailer, MD, PhD — Harding 329 (7471): E328 — BMJ

What do you think health care IT will look like 10 years from now?

We expect to have an information tool in the hands of every physician that has access to their patients’ data, access to knowledge and clinical rules, guidelines, etc… and communications tools with other clinicians. We expect to have a network that securely and in a patient-controlled manner connects all those electronic health records… so that if a physician is seeing a patient all that patient’s information that the patient wants the doctor to see is made available to them in real time. Patients don’t have to fill out the same forms over and over again. Patients will have access to portals or tools that will allow them to see their own data, participate in decision making, and communicate with their doctors, and we’ll be able to collect the data we need for quality monitoring, for clinical trials, for public health or bioterror surveillance directly out of the network.

What are your views of the use of email in clinical care?

I think it’s essential. Whether we support it from a policy or a financial perspective or not, patients are going to demand it and physicians are going to have to do it, so the question is are we going to develop some of the oversight mechanisms and safeguards and the financial offsets so that as it happens it’s done in a positive way and not just another thing that harms the doctor.

I think the legal infrastructure we have from HIPAA is quite adequate to be able to put in the safeguards that are needed to protect that information.

What do you think? Are HIPAA regulations sufficient to protect patient privacy? Comment below.

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