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Health Information System Segmentation

Electronic health records improve the quality of health care by ensuring that every provider who sees a patient has access to their medical history. But, electronic health records also make a patient’s entire medical record – including records about sensitive health care – available to all providers with access to the system. And, by default, the information in a patient’s electronic health record can be shared across state lines automatically. As other states criminalize abortion care and gender affirming care, this automatic sharing can put New York patients who travel or move to ban states, as well as the New York providers who care for them, at risk of criminalization. It further poses risks of discrimination against New York patients by other providers in New York who oppose abortion, gender affirming care, or other sensitive types of health care they previously received.

S.7879-A (Fernandez) / A.8884-A (Lunsford) would require the Department of Health to promulgate regulations compelling the electronic health record companies to create the ability to segment electronic health records and suppress sensitive health information at a patient’s direction. This would enable patients to reap the benefits of electronic health records without risking that information about their abortion, gender affirming care, or other sensitive health care will be shared against their will and used against them. The NYCLU strongly supports this legislation and urges its immediate passage.

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