The National Health Service, which represents a significant part of the United Kingdom’s government-run health system, is looking to go paperless. In the process, as part of its "Everyone Counts" initiative, it has plans to require doctors to turn over to NHS significant amounts of patient data. (Read more about NHS’ plan). For example, NHS providers would be required to turn over a patient’s NHS number, date of birth, gender, post code, ethnicity code and date of death, among other data elements including diagnosis code, smoking status, alcohol use and so on.
Just as concerns in the U.S. led to the HIPAA privacy and security regulations, the Guardian is reporting privacy advocates in the UK are concerned about this collection of personal health information by the government. And there are reasons for concern – it has been reported that for the 12-month period ending July 2012, NHS had 16 breaches that exposed 1.8 million health records. It remains to be seen how secure this information will be.