BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : APRIL 5, 1999 ISSUE
SPECIAL REPORT

The Price of Privacy: Your Health


RISK
Private information collected by your doctors and nurses can be passed on to insurers, employers, medical researchers, courts, and private eyes. Police and hackers might decide to take a peek, too.

REMEDY
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is pushing a bill forcing doctors to notify you each time your data is requested and to justify disclosure.

TRADE-OFF
In emergencies, the ability to zip your records over the Net may save your life. Medical science also gains by drawing on vast pools of patient data.

THE DOCTOR
''If people can't trust their doctors to keep secrets,'' says psychiatrist Richard Epstein, ''patients won't talk about sexual abuse or mental illness. The failure to disclose information could harm other people.''



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