Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A large number of Americans areexpressing concerns that sensitive informationabout their prescription drug useand other health data are being disclosedto their employers, health insurers,and government bureaucrats. Arecent Harris Interactive poll found thathalf of the respondents believe thatpatients have lost control over how theirmedical records are used by outsideorganizations. One in 6 told pollstersthat they are so worried about improperdisclosures of health information thatthey have withheld information frompharmacists, physicians, or other healthcare providers.

Although the majority of Americansdo not share these concerns, the factthat such a significant minority is worriedabout privacy may complicateefforts to promote electronic prescribing(e-prescribing) and other types ofcomputerization of medical records.

Harris researcher Alan F.Westin, PhD,noted that "about one quarter of thepublic remains skeptical and worriedabout such systemic computerization,and it will take highly robust and transparentnew privacy and security programsto overcome these fears."