Letter: Need for health data protection critical
A reader writes regarding the story, Foreign hackers seek to steal Americans' health records: Since 1998, while on the staff of the World Health Organization, a U.N. technical cooperation agency from which I retired in 2003, I urged the need for awareness and action by health authorities and organizations to the serious data protection issues related to person-identifiable databases and the challenges posed by cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberware to health services information systems. I have co-authored two publications by WHO Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO/WHO) on the subject. Although presently somewhat dated, since they came out in 2001 and 2003, references follows:
Rodrigues RJ, Wilson P, Schanz SJ (2001). The Regulation of Privacy and Data Protection in the Use of Electronic Health Information: An International Perspective and Reference Source on Regulatory and Legal Issues Related to Person-Identifiable Health Databases. Essential Drugs
and Technology Program, Division of Health Systems and Services Development. PAHO/WHO, Washington, DC; ISBN 92 75 12385 3 and Ramsaroop, P; Stull, R; Rodrigues, RJ and Hernandez, A. (2003). Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, and Cyberwarfare: Critical Issues in Data Protection for Health Services. Information System Technology and Health Services Delivery, Health Services Organization Unit (THS/OS), Pan
American Health Organization, Washington, DC, 2003, 85 p. ISBN 92 7512464 7. Available online at
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