Feeds

Warning sounded on Microsoft and Google's health records landgrab

Dr Ballmer will market you now

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Two leading proponents of electronic health records have urged regulators and governments to wake up to Microsoft and Google's growing interest in storing medical information.

Dr Kenneth Mandl and Dr Isaac Kohane write in the New England Journal of Medicine that the entry of tech behemoths to the healthcare market will bring "seismic change".

Pooling vast amounts of sensitive patient information will have a huge impact on research and privacy that is not properly appreciated, they argue.

For example, Microsoft and Google's web-based patient data services aren't covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and don't want to be. A Microsoft health VP told The New York Times: "Philosophically and politically, I am skeptical of the concept of paternalism."

The Act places restrictions and demands checks on companies that hold and share medical data. It was passed in 1996, however, when lawmakers didn't consider that people might turn their most private information over to web advertising brokers.

Microsoft and Google both assert that their service will give people greater control over their own healthcare. It's already happening at pace at some big hospitals, Mandl and Kohane note. At New York Presbyterian, authorities are committed to allowing patients to transfer information to the Microsoft HealthVault.

The pair called on regulators to consider extending oversight to cover their rush into the market, but saw the potential for people to participate more in research. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.