Medical computing news
Online pharmacies undergoing scrutiny
A group of U.S. congressmen has asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the growing online pharmacy business.
In making the request, four members of the House Commerce Committee said that they were concerned about online pharmacies that allow physicians to consult with patients they have never treated in person.
The congressmen asked the GAO to determine how many prescription services are on the Internet, how many prescriptions filled resulted from a face-to-face encounter with a physician and which federal and state agencies are regulating the services.
Last month, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the Medical Information Privacy and Security Act, which would set minimum privacy standards for both paper and electronic records. The bill, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), would give patients the right to inspect, copy and add material to their medical records. The bill would also give patients the right to know who has access to their records before the records are disclosed to anyone, and would limit the disclosure of health care information to those directly involved in the patient's care.
The bill would not preempt any federal or state law that offered stronger privacy protections, and it would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant, a federal subpoena or a court order in order to access an individual's medical records.
In addition, Sen. James Jeffords (R.-Vt.) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) introduced the Health Care Personal Information Nondisclosure (PIN) Act. The bill bears some strong similarities to the Leahy bill. Analysts say that it would permit stronger state laws regulating confidentiality to override the federal legislation.
HHS is preparing its own privacy proposal in case Congress does not pass the Leahy-Kennedy bill or any other privacy legislation. HHS officials have said that they would have to publish any proposed rule for comment later this summer in order to meet the February deadline.
Internist Archives Quick Links
Annals Virtual Patients Series 1-4 Available
Annals Virtual Patients is a unique online patient simulator that helps you learn while you earn CME Credit and MOC Points.
Start your journey now.
ACP keeps you on target to earn MOC Points
December 2015 is the deadline for most internists participating in ABIM MOC to earn some MOC points. Review our stimulating and rewarding options.