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Sept 2, 1968

Medical Computing Programs

Author Affiliations

Hartford, Conn

JAMA. 1968;205(10):704. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140360064022

To the Editor:—  Dr. Gabrieli's important suggestion (204:833, 1968) regarding the development of a national health information network requires some elaboration. A goal for having such a bank for information is technically feasible, however, strong forces offer resistance to the development of this important use of automated procedures. Anyone who has studied the hearings conducted by congressman Gallagher in 1966 soon becomes aware of the great fear that surrounds a discussion of a national data center. The fear is based on the loss of privacy of the individual. Since we physicians have had to report to government agencies about communicable diseases we already have the tradition of protecting the individual. There is no reason to believe that a comprehensive plan which results in a more efficient method of collecting data could not have these same safeguards for the privacy of the individual.From studies of attitudes of patients, physicians,