Putting Patient Privacy in Peril?

New legislation urging doctors and hospitals to keep electronic, rather than paper, health records may not go far enough in shielding sensitive information

More than 1,000 people, many of them celebrities, have had their health records inappropriately viewed by hospital employees at UCLA medical facilities since 2003, according to legal complaints against the center and published reports. In one case, a worker received payments from the National Enquirer in exchange for information. In many cases, hospital employees simply wanted to satisfy their curiosity about the conditions of such people as Britney Spears, Maria Shriver, and Farrah Fawcett. Soon, it may not be just public figures who need to worry about the privacy of electronic medical records.

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