Professor Vuori's paper, first presented at the fourth Medico-legal Conference in Prague in the spring of this year, deals with the problem of the maintenance of confidentiality in computerized health records. Although more and more information is required, the hardware of the computer systems is so sophisticated that it would be very expensive indeed to 'break in' and steal from a modern data bank. Those concerned with programming computers are becoming more aware of their responsibilities concerning confidentiality and privacy, to the extent that a legal code of ethics for programmers is being formulated. They are also aware that the most sensitive of all relationships--the doctor-patient relationship--could be in danger if they failed to maintain high standards of integrity. An area of danger is where administrative boundaries between systems must be crossed--say between those of health and employment. Protection of privacy must be ensured by releasing full information about the type of data being stored, and by maintaining democratic control over the establishment of information systems.
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