Survey Finds Most Online Pharmacies Do Not Give HIPAA Privacy Notices

Readability consultant Mark Hochhauser, Ph.D., in cooperation with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, conducted a survey of 50 online pharmacy web sites from mid-April through July 9, 2004. Of the 50, a scant 11 sites (22%) included a HIPAA privacy notice as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the federal medical privacy rule.

Pharmacies Profiting At Your Expense: Your Help Is Requested

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) has been in the forefront in asserting that pharmacies -- and their marketing partners, the big pharmaceutical companies -- act improperly when using the medical information in customer prescriptions to mail letters or call customers in order to sell more drugs.

If this happened to you or someone in your family, please let us know.  It could be very helpful to the outcome of the lawsuit.

Privacy Today: A Review of Current Issues

The purpose of this report is to highlight and summarize key privacy issues affecting consumers today and tomorrow. Readers who want to explore issues in depth should visit the Web sites of government agencies, public interest groups, industry associations, and companies. A list of public interest groups that are working on these issues is provided at the end of the report.

Health Privacy: The Way We Live Now (Gellman)

A colleague called last week to discuss medical privacy. It was a personal matter. He recently had a medical procedure that he did not describe. He doesn't want me or anyone to know anything about his diagnosis or treatment. I didn't ask for details. For purpose of this article, I will identify my friend as Fred (not his real name).

Fred was contacted by a researcher who got his name from his physician. Fred was surprised at the call because he didn't give permission for his information to be disclosed to any researcher. It wasn't clear whether the researcher knew anything about Fred's condition. The study was designed to compare people who did and did not have the same condition so the physician may have only said that Fred qualified for the study. Fred couldn't ask more without disclosing the information that he was trying to keep secret.

What Is HealthVault? Things to Think About Before You Participate

HealthVault is Microsoft's new service for storing, managing, and accessing a patient's medical information.  It operates as an online encrypted service.  The service offers a voluntary opportunity for medical records to be collected by aggregating information from various sources including health-care providers, insurance companies, and compatible medical devices (such as blood pressure monitoring devices).

For a Complete Medical History, Compile Your Own Health Records but be Cautious about Storing Them Online

If you don't already keep a personal health record, now is the best time to start. Do not rely on your ability to go back in time to collate a complete medical file. The longer you wait, the more difficulty you may have in obtaining older health records.

Sample Letter to Request Medical Records

Sample letter: request medical records as allowed by HIPAA.





[Your name]
[Your address]

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