Consumer groups urge California HIE to change policies in light of Anthem breach

Two consumer groups have asked California health information exchange organization, Cal INDEX, to change its consumer participation policy from an opt-out to an opt-in model, in light of Anthem's massive cybersecurity data breach, which has compromised up to 80 million patient records.

In a letter dated Feb. 5, Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog and Deborah Peel, founder and chair of Patient Privacy Rights, expressed concern that Cal INDEX's database is at risk of being a "one stop shopping for hackers" and that patients' records are at risk without their consent. They suggested that the HIE halt collection of patient data until the opt-in model is adopted.

The consumer groups also stated that the HIE's current privacy policies, don't adequately protect patient data, and that other provisions, like the current inability for patients to access their records, can render the records inaccurate. Letter (.pdf)