Should You Really Bare All?
Deciding Whether to Share Your Medical Info
Some patients have concerns about sharing their personal health information. They wonder whether insurers will use it to deny coverage, employers will make hiring or firing decisions, or the data will find its way to an identity thief.
Privacy and security are key aspects of the cHIE. There is no central data repository. Instead, it functions by running on an encrypted “electronic highway” which gathers and delivers data to authorized clinicians who have a treatment relationship with the patient. This means your personal medical records continue to be stored behind the security firewalls of your various healthcare providers, as they’ve always been. They’re accessed by your other providers only after you give consent.
The cHIE tracks every healthcare professional who accesses records. At any time and at no charge, patients may find out who has reviewed their information, what data was received, and for what expressed reason. Federal laws protect your medical information, limits who can look at it, and imposes severe financial fines on violators.
While no system is 100% protected from hackers or fraudulent use, many industry experts say electronic systems may be more secure than paper records, which could be left open on a copy machine or discovered unshredded in a wastebasket.