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Congress must take quick action to strengthen health privacy laws, as the reversal of Roe v. Wade stands to turn electronic health record systems into tools for harassment and prosecution of women and their healthcare providers.
The same information technology systems supporting individualized cancer treatments and providing the evidence that identified a community poisoned by its water supply could be used to create a dystopia for women in over half the U.S. states where reproductive healthcare in the form of abortion is expected to be criminalized.
As health information exchange facilitates data movement between EHRs, advances in healthcare quality, safety, research and critical public health are being demonstrated daily. However, the imminent threat to women’s reproductive health privacy also threatens the progress made.
Both the threats and the progress need to be recognized and addressed with changes to the HIPAA Omnibus Privacy Rule.