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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Brian Levy, MD (Cyberplus)
Description: The editor of this book describes legal risks and issues with the use of health-related Internet sites and e-mail. He also details the current warning to Internet users from the Minnesota Attorney General and the HCFA Internet security policy.
Purpose: The editor intends to discuss the legal issues involved in the electronic transmission of health information using the Internet. Specifically, he deals with the use of health-related Web sites and e-mail by patients and providers in this book. With the tremendous increase in health-related Internet use, especially by patients, the legal ramifications, privacy concerns, and future government regulations grow more important and complicated.
Audience: This book appears to be written for healthcare providers, managers, and executives. But, individual providers may find the book lacks enough detail to fully understand how they can legally use the Internet in managing patients. Healthcare executives may find the legal discussions helpful for beginning to address their Internet policy. The editor, a lawyer and president of Legamed, Inc., possesses the necessary background and training to present the health-related Internet legal issues.
Features: He covers legal issues regarding the use of online health information, the use of e-mail, and strategies for Internet risk management. He raises several interesting legal issues regarding what constitutes online patient interactivity and the online formation of a patient-provider relationship. The example disclaimers described in the appendix may be useful for Internet health site developers. The editor does fall short of providing a comprehensive legal discussion in this book. For example, he does not mention the legal implications for online pharmacies and only provides a short footnote describing HIPAA.
Assessment: Some interesting legal issues surrounding Internet health sites and the use of e-mail are raised in this book. Readers will find it serves as a useful, but not comprehensive, resource for developing policy.