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Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Citation

84 Indiana Law Journal Supplement 23 (2009)

Abstract

Issues of healthcare availability and quality are among the most profound facing our nation. If a high-quality, accessible healthcare system of a truly national nature is to be devised, electronic connectivity—including increased use of electronic medical records and similar technological advances—must be a key feature. Yet such connectivity may give rise to patients’ concerns regarding the privacy of their medical information. Because such concerns demand respect, a challenge lies in balancing patients’ privacy interests against the important information-sharing interests underlying a national healthcare network. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPPAA) is a key federal law that addresses many privacy issues regarding patients’ medical information, but HIPAA does not preempt state laws that furnish greater privacy protection than HIPAA provides. Accordingly, there exists a patchwork quilt of differing privacy protection provisions. This Article explores the issues just outlined and stresses the importance of a stronger federal role in standardizing medical information privacy rules, so that the current patchwork quilt of privacy regulations does not impede the development of a national healthcare network.

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