[ Thursday, May 19, 2005 ]


Genetic records and healthcare: A very interesting story is getting a lot of attention in the HIPAAworld today: this article on how the Mormon church's ig geneological database is being mined and consolidated with some other medical databases to help study genetic links to diseases. Certainly a good thing when you're trying to determine what drugs will and won't work for certain people, but this could also be used in a bad way, to deny someone life insurance or a job if they seem likely to be predisposed to illness. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Jeff [2:12 PM]

Wow, doesn't that story raise warning flags! The telling quote might be this one:
"Prescott and others said database safeguards — such as a feature that identifies patients by numbers instead of names on most interfaces — would ensure privacy."
---Yeah, only as much privacy as is ensured by the security of your enumeration system and database affords.
Stuff like this always makes me nervous, especially when it is data from a separate and indentifiable group. The knowledge to be gained is enormous, but so is the potential for abuse.
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