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Health Agencies Update
January 20, 1999

Patient Privacy Worries

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JAMA. 1999;281(3):222. doi:10.1001/jama.281.3.222-JHA80011-3-1

Patient fears that personal health information will not be protected pose a serious threat to health care, according to a recent report by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The report, Protecting Personal Health Information: A Framework for Meeting the Challenges in a Managed Care Environment, warns that patients who are worried about the privacy of sensitive personal and medical information may withhold information from health care professionals, increasing the risk of misdiagnosis and inadequate or inappropriate treatment. The two groups, which will consider adding new accreditation requirements to encourage managed care and provider organizations to improve confidentiality measures, also urge the health care community and policymakers to adopt a series of privacy safeguards.

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