Friday, January 2, 2009

Google, Microsoft Back Online Health Records Privacy Framework - InformationWeek

Nearly half of Americans are interested in using Web-based tools to accumulate and pull off their personal wellness information, but 90% are wary of the and safety of that sensitive data, according to a new study commissioned by non-profit organization Markle Foundation.

However, a new common model of engineering and policy patterns also unveiled by Markle on Wednesday, and endorsed by a diverse grouping of wellness industry and engineering companies, takes to relieve those consumer fears.

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The new model was developed by Markle Foundation's Connecting for Health private-public collaborative, with from 46 organisations ranging from medical professional groupings such as as the American Academy of Family Physicians; wellness insurance companies like BlueCross Blue Shield Assoc.; consumer groupings like Consumer Union; healthcare suppliers like New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Geisinger Health System; and employer alliances Pacific Ocean Business Group On Health and Dossia, which is developing a personal wellness record system for billions of its ain members' employees; and engineering suppliers like and Microsoft, which are also offering up their ain personal wellness record tools for consumers.

The model "provides four overviews and 14 specific engineering and policy attacks for consumers to entree online wellness services, to obtain and control transcripts of wellness information about them, to authorise the sharing of their information with others, and sound privateness and security practices," according to a Markle statement.

Among the patterns covered by the model are commissariat for online services to supply consumers with trails on who entrees their online wellness data, and procedures for consumer to bespeak rectifications or difference information in their records.

Work on the model began about 18 calendar months ago, said Dr. Carol Diamond, Connecting for Health chair, during a teleconferencing on Wednesday. During that time, respective companies, including Microsoft and Google, as well as wellness attention suppliers and employer groups, have got begun rolling out their online personal wellness record services for consumers.

Many of the organisations that have got got been involved with the development of the model have already started edifice those new Connecting for Health privateness and engineering policies and patterns into their offerings.

"We've been involved with Markle before the launch of HealthVault in 2007," said Saint George Scriban, Microsoft senior director of HealthVault, which is Microsoft's offering of Web-based personal wellness records tools and services for consumers. "We're been largely aligned [with the framework] from the beginning," he said.

Meanwhile, Google, which have also been involved in the development of the model and recently made publicly available its Google Health personal wellness record tools for consumers, have made some "small changes" in its offering to aline with the framework's suggestions, said Aelfred Spector, Google VP of research and particular initiatives. Those alterations related to third-parties informing Google of "any breaches they have" if a consumer using Google Health gives consent for third-parties to entree their wellness data.

"The beauty of the model is that there are a batch of details," said Spector.

Meanwhile, for other companies looking to leap on to the consumer personal wellness record bandwagon, the model have been assembled early adequate in this emerging marketplace so they too can develop their merchandises and services with the framework's privateness policies and patterns in mind, Diamond said.

"The model come ups at a critical time," she said.

In a study of 1,580 American grownups commissioned by Markel and conducted in May by Cognition Networks, the opinion poll establish that 46.5% of respondents would be interested in using online personal wellness record services, which stands for about 106 million Americans. However, nearly 90% of those surveyed said "privacy practices" are a factor in sign language up for such as services. Also, only 2.7% of respondents, representing about 6.1 million of Americans, have got an electronic personal wellness record today.

With the Markle model addressing the types of privateness concerns that Americans have got about online personal wellness records, "a major logjam" to acceptance of those tools is broken, said Markle president Zoe Baird.

Many of the online personal wellness record services offered to consumers by technical school sellers like Google or Microsoft aren't protected by HIPAA's security and policy ordinances because those companies are not wellness attention providers. However, the model takes to assist fill up those gaps, said Steve Findlay, a wellness analyst and publishing house of Consumer Reports, the publication of consumer grouping Consumers Union, which also endorsed the model on Wednesday.

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