HIPAA vs. Medical Research

Barbara Neal is like 33-million Americans in this country with osteoarthritis, these days she needs a walker to get around. On a visit to the doctors office you can see where her problem lies....in the right knee...its painful. Barbara says in a second she'd be part of a clinical trial. Her doctor, Malin Prupas, is currently recruiting patients..

" See if it would help and then if it helps then it would be given to everybody. So I want to do it."

Dr. Malin Prupas is working on three clinical trials involving osteoarthriti. Getting enough local patients involved has always been a challenge, but the federal patient privacy rule has makes it more so.

"A few years ago our informed consent was a few pages long .Now it is not uncommon for it to be 20- pages long."

But for those researchers who do retrospective medical research, that is examining patients record years after treatment or medical incident, work has been stymied. That's because getting access to those records is forbidden without a patient's consent first.
HIPAA went into effect in 2003. It was designed to set standards for protecting privacy during the electronic transfer of medical information. It was never to target medical research. But the Institute of Medicine national survey indicates that is indeed what has happened.

If you would like to learn more about the local clinical trials involving osteo-arthritis, contact Dr. Prupas at 786-9100.