Cybermedicine, Telemedicine, and Data Protection in the United States

Cybermedicine, Telemedicine, and Data Protection in the United States

Karin Mika (Cleveland State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-012-7.ch018
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This chapter provides an overview of law relating to online and Internet medical practice, data protection, and consumer information privacy. It provides a comprehensive overview of federal (HIPAA) and state privacy laws, concluding that both those legal resources leave gaps in consumer protection and provide no real penalties for violating the laws. The authors educate the readers to the legal and data protection problems consumers will encounter in purchasing medical and health services on the Internet. Furthermore, the authors recount some actual case studies and follow those with expert advice for those Internet consumers who wish to be not merely informed, but also safe. The authors not only educate the readers to the lack of protection afforded to them but also advocate throughout the chapter that the United States must enact more federal protection for the consumer in order to deter privacy violations and punish criminal, negligent, and wilful violations of personal consumer privacy.
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The practice of medicine is not immune from the information age. The use of the Internet, including e-mail, in medical practice is altering the traditional method of delivering medical care. Millions of Americans now rely upon the Internet as a primary source of medical information or education about their own symptoms, conditions, diagnoses, and treatments. The practice of telemedicine, consulting with another physician by using technology, is constantly evolving and expanding into areas never before imagined. Physicians are establishing their own Web sites and some few are now practicing medicine on the Internet.

The progression of the traditional practice of medicine in cyberspace has brought with it many issues related to privacy and online data protection. No longer is the physician-patient relationship limited to an in-person office consultation that carries with it the legal protections of doctor-patient privilege. Rather, the practice of medicine has evolved to include interactions that might not have ordinarily been considered a physician-patient relationship, and these contacts may stretch across both real and virtual boundaries. In fact, the interactions are, at times, both real and virtual, and the consumer-patient is now in a situation where it is difficult to identify exactly who is the party on the other end.

This chapter will provide an overview of the law relating to cybermedicine, medicine practiced without traditional in-person contact, and telemedicine, in terms of data protection and other legal complications related to licensing and a conflict of state laws. The chapter will examine the laws applicable to Web sites where medical diagnosis or the purchase of medical services (including prescriptions) is available. The chapter will discuss how the new methodology of acquiring medical care is at odds with traditional notions of state regulation and how current laws, both federal and state, leave many gaps related to any consumer protections or potential causes of action when privacy is compromised.

This chapter will proceed with an overview of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), an act promulgated to ensure privacy of health information as well as access to health care. It will review HIPAA’s application to medical practice conducted on the Internet. It will, in brief, discuss the plethora of sites available over which American citizens may purchase prescription drugs without a prescription from a licensed United States physician or merely through an overseas Web site with no physician to monitor the transaction. We then will examine current federal laws which are not set up to regulate these international transactions. The chapter will explore potential legal complications with personal data and privacy issues related to purchasing medical treatment or services on the Internet and describe what, if any legal recourse consumers might have when the outcome of an Internet medical transaction turns out to be undesirable. The chapter will posit some expert advice for consumers regarding using websites for medical purposes as well as protecting their own privacy. Lastly, this chapter advocates a federal law more punitive that HIPAA; one that regulates and protects patient information, medical transactions, and interactions on the Internet and deters violations of patient privacy by mandating significant fines and imprisonment for negligent or criminal and willful violations of that privacy.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Kuanchin Chen, Adam Fadlalla
Chapter 1
Andrew Pauxtis
What began as simple homepages that listed favorite Web sites in the early 1990’s have grown into some of the most sophisticated, enormous... Sample PDF
Google: Technological Convenience vs. Technological Intrusion
Chapter 2
Angelena M. Secor
In this chapter, consumer online privacy legal issues are identified and discussed. Followed by the literature review in consumer online privacy... Sample PDF
A Taxonomic View of Consumer Online Privacy Legal Issues, Legislation, and Litigation
Chapter 3
Hy Sockel, Louis K. Falk
There are many potential threats that come with conducting business in an online environment. Management must find a way to neutralize or at least... Sample PDF
Online Privacy, Vulnerabilities, and Threats: A Manager's Perspective
Chapter 4
Thejs Willem Jansen
Governments and large companies are increasingly relying on information technology to provide enhanced services to the citizens and customers and... Sample PDF
Practical Privacy Assessments
Chapter 5
Leszek Lilien, Bharat Bhargava
Any interaction—from a simple transaction to a complex collaboration—requires an adequate level of trust between interacting parties. Trust includes... Sample PDF
Privacy and Trust in Online Interactions
Chapter 6
Huong Ha, Ken Coghill
The current measures to protect e-consumers’ privacy in Australia include (i) regulation/legislation; (ii) guidelines; (iii) codes of practice; and... Sample PDF
Current Measures to Protect E-Consumers' Privacy in Australia
Chapter 7
Anil Gurung, Anurag Jain
Individuals are generally concerned about their privacy and may withhold from disclosing their personal information while interacting with online... Sample PDF
Antecedents of Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Towards an Integrative Model
Chapter 8
Alan Rea, Kuanchin Chen
Protecting personal information while Web surfing has become a struggle. This is especially the case when transactions require a modicum of trust to... Sample PDF
Privacy Control and Assurance: Does Gender Influence Online Information Exchange?
Chapter 9
Bernadette H. Schell, Thomas J. Holt
This chapter looks at the literature—myths and realities—surrounding the demographics, psychological predispositions, and social/behavioral patterns... Sample PDF
A Profile of the Demographics, Psychological Predispositions, and Social/Behavioral Patterns of Computer Hacker Insiders and Outsiders
Chapter 10
Chiung-wen ("Julia") Hsu
This chapter introduces a situational paradigm as a means of studying online privacy. It argues that data subjects are not always opponent to data... Sample PDF
Privacy or Performance Matters on the Internet: Revisiting Privacy Toward a Situational Paradigm
Chapter 11
Tom S. Chan
While delivering content via the Internet can be efficient and economical, content owners risk losing control of their intellectual property. Any... Sample PDF
Online Consumer Privacy and Digital Rights Management Systems
Chapter 12
Betty J. Parker
Marketing practices have always presented challenges for consumers seeking to protect their privacy. This chapter discusses the ways in which the... Sample PDF
Online Privacy and Marketing: Current Issues for Consumers and Marketers
Chapter 13
Suhong Li
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the current status of online privacy policies of Fortune 100 Companies. It was found that 94% of the... Sample PDF
An Analysis of Online Privacy Policies of Fortune 100 Companies
Chapter 14
Andy Chiou
In this chapter, the authors will briefly discuss some cross cultural concerns regarding Internet privacy. The authors believe that due to the cross... Sample PDF
Cross Cultural Perceptions on Privacy in the United States, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan
Chapter 15
Sean Lancaster
Biometrics is an application of technology to authenticate users’ identities through the measurement of physiological or behavioral patterns. The... Sample PDF
Biometric Controls and Privacy
Chapter 16
G. Scott Erickson
This chapter focuses on the specific issue of the federal Freedom of Information Act and associated state and local freedom of information laws.... Sample PDF
Government Stewardship of Online Information: FOIA Requirements and Other Considerations
Chapter 17
Charles O’Mahony
This chapter will discuss the legal framework for consumer and data protection in Europe. Central to this discussion will be the law of the European... Sample PDF
The Legal Framework for Data and Consumer Protection in Europe
Chapter 18
Karin Mika
This chapter provides an overview of law relating to online and Internet medical practice, data protection, and consumer information privacy. It... Sample PDF
Cybermedicine, Telemedicine, and Data Protection in the United States
Chapter 19
J. Michael Tarn
This chapter explores the current status and practices of online privacy protection in Japan. Since the concept of privacy in Japan is different... Sample PDF
Online Privacy Protection in Japan: The Current Status and Practices
About the Contributors