Online Personal Health Records: Are They Healthy for Your Privacy?


A personal health record (PHR) is a tool for collecting, tracking, and sharing information about your health.  Because medical records are among the most sensitive type of personal information, we at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have some concerns about PHRs. PHRs may not necessarily be private and may not be secure, despite what the hosting site tells you.

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. www.healthvault.com  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).

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.

Comments on HHS Request for Information: Voluntary Storage of Personal Data in Preparation for Emergencies


The notion of a 21st Century vault for storing personal data for emergency use has a great deal of initial appeal. However, just below the surface lurk multiple concerns about the ability of any existing system -- or even one that could be constructed -- to ensure the public has adequate data privacy and security.

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.

Comments to Federal Agencies Regarding the Use of Personal Medical Data by Financial Institutions


When it comes to privacy, consumer expectations and fears are most elevated for sensitive data included in medical records. A major concern is potential secondary uses of medical information. For example, a consumer may understandably be concerned that a medical condition could adversely affect the ability to get a job or a mortgage. In recent amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Congress acted to address the discriminatory use of medical information in credit transactions.

Regarding the Privacy Implications of the Proposed National Health Information Network (NHIN)


The proposed National Health Information Network embodies a presidential mandate to bring information technology to healthcare by making complete patient records available to providers, regardless of location.

In responding to the questions asked in the RFI, we will discuss matters of privacy and security, and also whether standardization of healthcare information may ultimately be detrimental to patient treatment.

Privacy Rights and the Marketing of Confidential Medical Information: Questions and Answers on the Case of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) v. Albertsons


Albertsons collects its customers’ confidential medical information by surreptitiously reviewing customer prescriptions - required to be kept confidential and used only as authorized by the patient - and creates a retrievable database including customer addresses, phone numbers and drug regimen. The information is made available for use to satisfy pharmaceutical companies willing to pay Albertsons to fulfill drug marketing objectives. The result is unsolicited mailings and/or phone calls directed at consumers attempting to convince them to buy more or different medications.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Files Lawsuit Charging Albertsons Violates Privacy of Pharmacy Customers


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), a San Diego-based nonprofit consumer information and advocacy organization, today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court charging supermarket giant Albertsons and its pharmacy units, SavOn, Osco, and Jewel-Osco, with violating the privacy rights of thousands of its customers by illegally using their confidential prescription information to conduct targeted marketing campaigns on behalf of drug companies.

Have You Received Unsolicited Marketing Letters or Phone Calls Regarding Your Personal Prescriptions? Tell us!


Some patients who get their prescriptions filled through supermarket pharmacies and chain drug stores such as Albertson's, Walgreens, RiteAid, SavOn and CVS may be surprised to get a solicitation in the mail that looks like a friendly reminder to refill their prescription.

If you've received a solicitation in the mail or a phone call from your pharmacy or a marketer working on behalf of the pharmacy suggesting that you switch to another brand of drug or that you talk to your doctor about a refill, please let us know.

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