States with tough privacy laws that restrict disclosure of patient data tend to have lower rates of EMR adoption, and the relationship may not be a coincidence, a new study suggests. Writing in the journal Management Science, researchers from MIT and the University of Virginia report that EMR adoption is down 24 percent in states that restrict the ability of hospitals to disclose patient information without express consent. EMR adoption rose 21 percent in states that do not have medical privacy laws that are more rigorous than HIPAA, according to the study.
The authors say tough privacy protections could have two effects on information-sharing technologies: greater adoption if consumers are more comfortable sharing data, or slower uptake if the restrictions become cost-prohibitive to users. The study does not take into consideration the fact that the federal stimulus law will tighten HIPAA privacy provisions.