WI may change laws on health data sharing

The state of Wisconsin is considering changes to its health data privacy rules to make it easier for providers to form health data exchanges. The pending bill, which should be introduced shortly, would establish that all information other than that covered by HIPAA could be shared between providers without a patient's consent. This would allow providers to share information such as patient names, address, names of mental health providers, diagnoses and medication without specific patient consent. The bill comes with strong support from Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who's working to increase the use of health IT in the state. However, privacy advocates are challenging the bill, particularly the provisions which would allow sharing of mental health-related information, arguing that such sharing might drive people to avoid seeking care.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Government Health IT piece

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