The World Privacy Forum has been particularly interested in developments related to EHRs and the NHIN. Given the impetus of the 2004 Executive Order  mandating forward movement in these areas, and the broad impact digitized medical records will potentially have on patients and on the healthcare sector, the World Privacy Forum believes that the decisions this Committee and others shaping these efforts arrive at will be of lasting importance. Given the transition of many parts of our society from analog to digital, it is crucial to ask what this digitization will look like and to carefully examine and discuss what form EHRs and related systems should take in regards to patient choice, privacy, and security.
The World Privacy Forum and the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted comments in response to the U.S. government’s “Request for Information” about its plan to digitize all patient medical records and create an electronic “National Health Information Network” or NHIN. The comments urge caution in designing the NHIN and call for the government to build privacy, security, and open source technologies into the system from the beginning of the project.