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In a piece for Healthcare IT News, Jeff Rowe writes about balancing patients' privacy with research needs, noting that as "digitized health information will be more readily available for doctors, patients and researchers alike...it can be used in the effort to improve healthcare quality and efficiency." But, he cautions, there is not yet a clear line between privacy rights and what he describes as the "as yet ill-defined 'obligation to contribute' to ongoing research efforts," adding that question lies "just beneath the surface of the recent effort by policymakers to develop effective guidelines for when and how patient health data can be used by researchers." 
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