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Deapen D. Cancer surveillance and information: balancing public health with privacy and confidentiality concerns (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 2006 Jun;17(5):633-7. Review

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This brief article offers a good, general perspective on privacy, a right of individuals, and confidentiality, a status accorded to data. The relationship of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to issues of confidentiality is discussed. In a technological age that allows us to collect more and more accurate health data, we are also struggling to find a comfortable balance between the protection of privacy and the use of those data for health surveillance and research to improve life for everyone. The article provides a good statement of the dilemma and could easily apply to any type of health data.