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Privacy Concerns on Health Data Access in Alberta

Chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, midwives, nurses, and other health professionals recently gained access to patient health information found in Alberta's electronic health record system. Although many health care professionals have already had access to patient data via Netcare (an e-health record portal), it was limited to health services provided by and paid for under government-funded insurance. Amendments to the Health Information Act now grant access to patient X-rays, MRIs, and blood test results to include privately funded services. According to the Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work, these changes aim to make the health care system more efficient and seamless by allowing medical professionals to quickly retrieve patient information. However, the Commissioner also cautioned that electronic medical information should be treated ethically, and that regulations will include authorization securities and periodic audits to monitor appropriate use.


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