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Medical Records, Use and Abuse

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H Tranberg, J Rashbass. Oxon: Abingdon. ISBN 1 85775 604 5

This is a clearly written, well structured book that explores the challenges involved in maintaining the confidentiality of medical records. It is written by Heida Tranberg, a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property, information technology and privacy issues, and Dr Rashbass, previously a consultant in histopathology and now director of the Clinical and Biochemical Computing Unit in the University of Cambridge.

Five of the 10 chapters address questions and the answers provided are far from clearcut. For example, the authors start by asking: “Is there a medical privacy crisis?” They write that it is difficult to assess whether or not privacy is really under more threat today than ever before, but that many people perceive this to be the case. As evidence they cite the results of surveys undertaken mostly in the USA and …

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