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Don’t worry, your centralized medical records are safe

Don’t worry, your centralized medical records are safe

Creating a centralized electronic medical record is one of the primary goals of the Obama administration (and Bush before that, although not funded) under the theory that a centralized record will lead to greater efficiencies.

Don’t worry, your centralized medical records will be safe.

Unless, of course, someone working for the government decides to steal it and sell it, as happened in Israel:

A contract worker from the Ministry of Labor and Welfare was charged with  stealing the personal information of over 9 million Israelis from the Population Registry, the  Justice Ministry announced Monday after a media ban was lifted.

The worker electronically copied identification numbers, full names,  addresses, dates of birth, information on family connections and other  information in order to sell it to a private buyer….

A copy of the software program, devoid of any protection mechanisms, was  later obtained by a computer technician who uploaded it to the Internet. He even created a website with detailed instructions explaining how to download and use the Argon program with Israeli citizens’ personal information.


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personal information of over 9 million Israelis

which is quite an impressive feat, given that the population of Israel is about 7.5 million (yeah, I know, some of the records are probably records of patients who are now dead, and some are probably of visitors to Israel)

Lovely. I live in a small enough town that some of my acquaintances get certain medical tests done “outside the network” so they can reduce chatter. Imagine everyone knowing.

I think what we need to consider in this subject is the trade-off on a mathematical basis.

Plus: As Medical Records mobility increases, the convenience to the customer increases. In our mobile society, the ability of a “here” doctor in to view your medical history from your “home” doctor can mean the difference between life and death. Expenses can drop because you do not have to go through the same tests repeatedly. And Insurance claims should drop/raise slower because of the decrease in physical papers to shuffle and store.

Minus: Undesirable people can get their hands on your info(like this case). Mistakes in the records can be difficult to expunge. And sometimes electronic records just do a lousy job of recording just exactly what is going on with a patient.

I think a universal electronic medical record format would be a great goal, with certain caveats. The Government should not control it, no single company should have monopolistic control over it, it should be flexible to changes, redundant for reliability, and able to be opted-out of for privacy reasons without consequence. (Hey, if (Fill in Hollywood Actor) wants his physician to write his treatment on paper, and store it in a safe, more power to him/her/it)

Yeah, I’m an optimist. So?

    We’re heading for a universally useful medical health data format without the gov’t “helping.” (I’d be willing to bet there are laws slowing it down, too.) They just need to get out of the way. My doctor does all his write-ups during a visit to their local network (it looks like a DOS program, even) and they print out hard copies just in case; that data can go to anyone in their association.

    I much prefer not having them all the same format and instead having format converters for the same reason I have no problem with a ton of private networks but do dislike a single, large database: it makes it harder to screw EVERYTHING up or steal EVERYONE’s data.

    Aarradin in reply to georgfelis. | October 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    You should be aware of what the government intends to do with your medical information before concluding that its a good thing.

    The Stimulus Bill funded Comparative Effectiveness Research. In order to do this ‘research’ they need access to all of our medical information. The purpose of this ‘research’ is to determine what procedures/pharmaceuticals the government will pay for – and which it will not. C.E.R. consists of dividing the cost of a procedure with the life expectancy of the person receiving it. So, as you get older you’ll find you have a denominatior problem and the government will offer to make you comfortable until you die rather than saving your life (or, if you live in Oregon, they’ll offer to pay for assisted suicide but not for a life saving procedure). As Obama said, sometimes Grandma should ‘just take a pill’ (meaning a pair releiver) rather than have the government pay for a procedure.

    So, when you hear about electronically available centralized medical records, think: Death Panel. The main purpose of collecting the information is to provide a rationale to deny you medical care – based on your age and the cost of whatever it is you need.

    Note that they passed this in the Stimulus, not Obamacare, and so will need to be repealed separately. It presumed Obamacare will lead to a single-payer would lead to single-payer government run health insurance (which it will, if not repealed or declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS). But, even then, they’ll use it in Medicare/Medicaid as well.

    The best thing we could do for Healthcare, both for quality and cost, is to get the Government out of it completely. The worse thing we could do would be to give the Government total control.

I R A Darth Aggie | October 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

What could possibly go wrong?

I think publishing everyone’s medical records is a *wonderful* idea – I’ll even give you the priveledge of going first.

[…] Don’t worry, your centralized medical records are safe […]

Medical records belong only to the individual; not his doctor, not his state and definitly not the Feral Government.

It is up to the patient to decide with whom and how much he will share those records.