Privacy Versus Public Health: The Impact of Current Confidentiality Rules
Thompson, W. Douglas
American Journal of Public Health 2010 March; 100(3): 407-412
Public health research and practice often have been facilitated through the evaluation and study of population-based data collected by local, state, and federal governments. However, recent concerns about identify theft, confidentiality, and patient privacy have led to increasingly restrictive policies on data access, often preventing researchers from using these valuable data. We believe that these restrictions, and the research impeded or precluded by their implementation and enforcement, have had a significant negative impact on important public health research. Members of the public health community should challenge these policies through their professional societies and by lobbying legislators and health officials to advocate for changes that establish a more appropriate balance between privacy concerns and the protection of public health.
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