Your browser doesn't support JavaScript. Please upgrade to a modern browser or enable JavaScript in your existing browser.
Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Integrated State Health Information Systems

Techniques and Technology

Activities Under HIPAA and Beyond


Robert Gellman, Privacy and Information Policy Consultant, Washington, DC.

Mr. Gellman discussed the legal and policy background of health record confidentiality, including Congressional efforts to legislate and the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Mr. Gellman proposed the European term of "data protection" rather than privacy as a more constructive way to view issues of confidentiality. He dispelled the myth that the doctor-patient privilege has any value in guarding privacy of information. He viewed the procedural provisions in HIPAA as mildly useful but speculated that the "wrongful disclosure" clause, because it is undefined, would not hold up in court. He suggested a "Code of Fair Information Practices" as a longer term solution.

For information on the health privacy and confidentiality recommendations of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, go to:


Fair Health Information Practices Act H.R. 52 (Introduced by Representative Gary A. Condit, D-CA).

Health Confidentiality Bibliography

Previous Section Previous Section       Contents         Next Section Next Section

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care