Changing economic conditions are driving rapid change in the organization of health care providers in US metropolitan areas. Mergers, restructuring, and shifting contracts and alliances can create nightmares for those charged with maintaining and distributing patient records. Making records available on the Internet would ease the task of distributing information to and gathering data from new or newly reorganized provider organizations, but it raises serious questions about privacy and security. Despite the common perception that connecting to the Internet is an open invitation to invasion by hackers and industrial spies, advanced technologies offer the promise of convenient, inexpensive, and efficient information distribution that is both more private and more secure than existing methods which rely on paper and proprietary communications networks.
I am in the process of defining and developing a private and secure method for serving medical records on the Net using largely existing, off-the-shelf technology. The work is slow while I'm busy with residency. Watch this space for developments.
The final version of my paper is available here in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, but in order to see it you need: