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Voluntary Health Care Standards
While Congress debates establishing a federal office to coordinate adoption of electronic medical records, industry, state government agencies, federal officials, academics and NGOs have agreed to standards that will speed acceptance of personal electronic health records.

In a project spearheaded by the Markle Foundation, a diverse array of stakeholders affiliated with organizations including the State of Tennessee eHealth Council, the Maryland Health Care Commission, Intel, Google, Microsoft, America's Health Insurance Plans, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Columbia Universityís School of Public Health, Wal-Mart, the American College of Physicians, AARP and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have developed a framework defining "a set of practices that can help protect personal information and enhance consumer participation in online personal health records."

As a Consumers Union official explained, "This collaboration lays out specific practices that all PHRs [electronic public health records] and related services can use, whether they are covered by federal privacy rules or not, so they can enhance public trust." The voluntary standards endorsed by the diverse groups include "four overviews and 14 specific technology and policy approaches for consumers to access health services, to obtain and control copies of health information about them, to authorize the sharing of their information with others, and sound privacy and security practices."

The Markle Foundationís Common Framework demonstrates the essential role of private voluntary standards in establishing health care policies accepted by governments, the private sector and health care consumers.

See Press Release

See Common Framework for Networked Public Health Information

See CRE White Paper on Market-Driven Consortia

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