There is much that might be said that is good of American progress in
hygienic matters, but the criticisms in Dr. Fulton’s address, published
in this issue, are certainly called for. We in this country have never been
strong in the matter of vital statistics; over a large portion of our territory
the attempts at their collection are almost farcical and, even where they
are at their best, there is, as he points out, much room for reform. It is
the second point of his criticism, however, that most calls for our attention
here. The disreputable, and, we might say, criminal use of the health records
for commercial purposes, as he shows, is appalling, and strongly suggests
that even worse remains behind. The possibilities of blackmailing from a free
access of everyone to these records are very apparent. Moreover, as the tendency
to increase the number of notifiable diseases extends, and there is good reason
for its doing so, the evil possibilities are greatly enhanced.
THE PUBLICITY OF HEALTH RECORDS.. JAMA. 2005;294(15):1974. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1974-a
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