The Institute for Health Freedom in the US has warned the proposed federal rule to create and exchange electronic health records without patients’ consent will threaten Americans’ health privacy.

The rule, when adopted, will give higher federal payments to doctors and hospitals for creating and exchanging electronic health records (EHRs), and after 2015 doctors and hospitals will be penalised if they do not do so.

The data will include weight, body mass index, race, ethnicity and other key pieces of highly personal information.

Doctors will have to spend about $54,000 each to purchase certified EHR technology and approximately $10,000 annually for maintenance.

According to the rule, patients’ consent is not required before their personal health information is compiled and shared electronically with many third parties including government agencies. The rule will also affects all types of patients, not just those on Medicare and Medicaid.

Considering these factors, the Institute for Health Freedom has urged Americans to submit their comments about the proposed federal rule before the 15 March deadline.