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E-Health Records Raise Privacy Concerns About Sexual Health

In February, the US government mandated that doctors and healthcare providers create an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for every American by 2014. This new system, which healthcare providers and government officials can access when authorized, promises to make health care more efficient and less expensive. But there's a growing concern that the adoption of a central, online system could compromise patient privacy.

Some people worry that private information, such as someone's sexual health history, could get in the hands of the wrong people if health information becomes too centralized. One congressman, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, was recently asked specifically if information about STDs and abortion would be included in a person's record. He said that patients would be able to opt out of including such personal information in the electronic file.

Life is always easier when you swap out a paper-intensive system for searchable, sortable electronic databases. But when it comes to health records, there are risks to consider. Would you choose not to include sensitive information about your sexual health in your official e-file?

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