Using the DNA Profile as the Unique Patient Identifier


Lisa L. Dahm


VOL. XV • Winter 1997 • NO. 2 (table of contents)

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15 John Marshall J. of Comp. & Info. Law 227


One of the greatest obstacles to electronic medical record keeping is the absence of a unique patient identifier. With the sharing of patient's information, an increased risk of error exists. Among these risks are the transmission of the wrong patient's records and security of confidential patient information. Implementation of a uniform patient identifier will eliminate the obstacle to cooperation and information-sharing of health data. This article proposes the application of a unique protocol, which utilizes DNA fingerprints as a patient's personal identifier. Since each individual's DNA profile is distinctly different, the fingerprint would act as the patient's personal bar code, which is distinguishable from other patients. Use of DNA profiles significantly safeguard the confidentiality of patient records by reducing the risks of alternative databases that gain access to personal information about patients. Adoption of the author's proposal will facilitate a more effective and unified manner of sharing information within the healthcare industry.

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