Newt Gingrich needs no introduction. He’s a former Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is founder of the Center for Health Transformation. He is a strong proponent of healthcare IT.
Anthony Guerra, the Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Informatics, interviewed Gingrich at this year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida held February 24-28.
Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Guerra: Many health information exchange initiatives are thwarted by privacy concerns. How do you think that can be addressed?
Gingrich: First of all, I favor strongly a federal law that would make it a felony to release or use personal health information without the consent of the person involved. And I would make it an automatic matter of slander for any news organization to use your health record without your permission. [...]
The last point I make is one where I think the hardest line privacy advocates actually get caught in a formula that in the long run doesn’t make much sense. It is clear that we’re going to have some method of knowing who you are. Because we present in an emergency room or you present to get a drug, if we don’t know who you are, how can we have safety in terms of medication, how can we have safety in terms of treatments. It turns out to be irrelevant, whether it’s a single identifier or five items that identify you. All the big credit card companies who allow you to use a piece of plastic worldwide have multiple methods of determining who you really are. If you said to the average person, in order to protect your privacy, we’re going to take away your credit card, they would think you were crazy. There are some people — but to be fair in a free country, there are a significant number of people who won’t shop on the Internet, who won’t use a credit card — there is a minority that actually have no bank accounts deliberately as an act of policy. It’s a pretty small minority, but it’s several million people who are deliberately living in a cash society. (underlining added for emphasis)
To read both Part I and Part II of the interview, go to One-on-One with Newt Gingrich.