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Unpublished Paper
Somebody's Watching Me: Protecting Patient Privacy in De-Identified Prescription Health Information
ExpressO (2011)
  • Christopher R Smith, American University Washington College of Law
Increasingly, legal scholars, state legislatures and the federal courts are examining patient privacy concerns that arise in the context of the dissemination, distribution and use of patient prescription information. However, less attention has been paid to the sharing of de-identified or encrypted patient prescription information versus identifiable patient prescription information. Though many patients may not realize it, identifiable, de-identified and encrypted patient prescription information is being used for a host of purposes other than insurance reimbursement and treatment, most notably for pharmaceutical marketing purposes. Existing state and federal laws and ethical guidelines provide some protection for the privacy of patient prescription information, but the privacy protection afforded is non comprehensive and inadequate. The existing patient privacy remedies are too narrow in scope, contain too many loopholes to avoid privacy requirements, lack strong enforcement, and/or focus more on the prescriber than the patient. Accordingly, this Article explores the need for and constructs a proposal for comprehensive federal legislation that is patient focused and empowers patients to protect their prescription information privacy, protects the privacy of de-identified or encrypted prescription information as well as identifiable prescription information, is proactive instead of reactive, and provides for strong enforcement.
Publication Date
April 3, 2011
Citation Information
Christopher R Smith. "Somebody's Watching Me: Protecting Patient Privacy in De-Identified Prescription Health Information" ExpressO (2011)
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