Health

Are you prepared to Google your medical records?

In the world of healthcare, a patient's medical record is maintained by its author -- the doctor and nurses. So, what would the benefit be if a patient had some control over his or her records? And would that have the net result of improving patient care?

Often one of the challenges in health care from the provider’s standpoint is the ability to develop a holistic view of the patient in order to see clearly what the foundations of an illness or condition are. The patient who presents with chest pain, difficulty breathing, and tingling down one arm may be having a heart attack or simply displaying unrelated symptoms of different pre-existing conditions. Without a clear view of the history, clinicians are on a path of ruling out possible diagnosis.

Part of the issue is a lack of portability of patient health records. A single facility may have the newest and greatest electronic record system going, but generally, that information is not portable outside of that facility or family of facilities. This is one of the gaps that Google Health seeks to fill.

On Feb. 28, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt announced the new offering at a healthcare conference in Florida. According to that announcement, Google has teamed with various hospitals and companies including medical tester Quest Diagnostics, health insurer Aetna, and Walmart and Walgreen pharmacies.

The service is focused on sharing information between various services while keeping control in the hands of the patient. The service would enable the patient to schedule appointments or refill prescriptions as an example.

The system is currently in beta test with leading academic medical researcher Cleveland Clinic. According to Schmidt it will be several months before Google Health will be available more widely.

From Reuters:

Google's biggest rival, Microsoft Corp, has introduced HealthVault, which gives users control over who sees what. Among start-ups active in the field are Revolution Health, a company backed by former AOL Chairman Steve Case.

All are based on the notion that individuals should retain control over the data. "The information in your health record is yours and it doesn't get shared with anyone else without your permission," Schmidt said.

Electronic record-keeping has been held back by a lack of focus on consumer needs, not privacy fears, he said, adding any system should "'normal-person' designed, not doctor designed."

Of course, there are going to be concerns about privacy and how the system will be secured. In the United States, the Healthcare Portability Act (HIPPA) will govern how the information is secured, but there is a difference between a doctor maintaining your health records and a third party. A doctor can claim patient privilege but Google cannot.

Also from Reuters:

Google is prepared to resist fishing expeditions by lawyers seeking to subpoena personal medical records stored on Google Health. Last year, it went to court to defeat an effort by the U.S. Justice Department to request some Google search records.

"We've taken a pretty aggressive position in a pro-consumer way in the U.S., but I do want to assure you we are subject to U.S. law," Schmidt said.

Google earns almost all its revenue in Web advertising, but has no plan to sell ads on Google Health. It aims to make money indirectly when users search for other medical information.

Google sees solving privacy issues around health as part of its none-too-humble corporate mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

As issues around healthcare become increasingly complex, this offering from Google may help to simplify care for patients as they become less tied to a single clinician and use less traditional medical services, such as medical advisors, nurse practitioners, and the like. It certainly could have the effect of capturing more of the patient’s history as the patient is able to add information that might not be added -- blood pressure tracking and casual vaccinations, such as the flu and others.

I think that e-medical records could be a positive development, assuming that my privacy and security concerns and needs are also met. But I admit that I have some lingering doubt if this is a positive direction. Perhaps I am just uneasy about so much intensely personal information being stored in a single place. Still, having been on the direct patient care side, I know how frustrating it is to try to assemble a patient’s history from disparate sources.

What do you think? Would you use an online medical record service?

More information:

Google previews Google health (PC World)

Storing medical records online with Google (Computerworld)

Google Health, a first look (Google Blog)

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71 comments
roy.evison
roy.evison

Short answer, no.I read the original but none since. If hospitals cannnot cart your physical records around with completeness and accuracy then what hope is there when it is shared on the information super-highway, especially when you are asking peo[le to input and manage information when that is not their first area of expertise? Add to that the NHS seem to have selected Microsoft server software.

Systems Guy
Systems Guy

Call me a luddite, but No Way would I want that information on line available for searching. No matter how secure.

Health Care Guy
Health Care Guy

Who's gonna use it? How is access going to be controlled? Is google going to have connections into the licensing organizations around the world that allow physicians to practise? Will it be a patient centric approach that allows the patient to control who has access to their data. What about emergencies? Is there a "Break the glass" option for ER's or ambulance workers to see if the patient took the little blue pill or the little red pill that morning? Physicians may not use it because it increases their "time per client visit" reducing their income. Plus, what happens if a rouge Doc says "you have HIV"? Now you're screwed. How do you get that record changed? A true Electronic Health record will let you update the record with a corection, but the old record remains for all future stats and queries. Physicians may not use data after 3mths anyway, unless it's pediatrics (21yrs) or lukimeia(life for trending). From the article, it covered general diagnosis, but what about lab test, pharmacutical and diagnostic imaging? Better not screw up my data on my drugs and lab tests and you better have a tonne of storage for all my images... If I've ever seen a case for Availabilty, Integrity and Confidentiality her it is.

dawgit
dawgit

#1 The System itself. That will be a monsterous amount of Data to maintain. Multiple Data entry points. Always available, 24/7. And super Secure at the same time. #2 The Users. Just look at some of the posts and questions we see here. The general populace is not, at this time, up to speed to be able to work with such a system. Another generation maybe. And with little problems like Vista comming into the picture, it's a failure in the making from the onset. A Great Idea, but way ahead of it's time. -d

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Definitely food for thought. On one hand it could save your life. On the other it could cost you a job or worse. Somehow I don't think we (IT worldwide) are ready to implement this yet. But for now it should be strictly voluntary; and if only 1% of the population volunteers then how useful is it to EMT or other medical personnel? I do like the idea of standardizing medical information so it could be universally accessible. Another one we may not be ready for?

reisen55
reisen55

WHY BOTHER WITH GOOGLE HERE? In 2006 I worked for a major New York Hospital chain that routinely threw out un-shredded patient records at the Secaucus data center dumpster (they were found by a business continuity planner I work with, approximately 2,000 pages of secure data) and, secondly, computers were routinely STOLEN from this hospital network. FIRST secure the medical sites themselves and then worry about Google. Hell, I'll worry about Paypal too.

GSG
GSG

I work in Healthcare and have for 18+ years in Medical Records and in IT. I live, breathe, and have nightmares about HIPAA. Technically, Google can get away with this because it's the patient freely posting their stuff, but I guarantee that there's going to be an issue where someone's info will get out, then all hell will break loose. I can see an employer googling a prospective employee and finding out that they have HIV, or have had Cancer and not hiring them.

The Bird
The Bird

I guess (especially if Micro$oft is behind this), in time our most private records will be exploited. OR potential employers might be able to gain access to records, possibly refusing employment because in the past, I don't know..you may have told your doctor you smoked marijuana?....I don't think this is a good idea. And what about digital identity theft? Now a person could obtain even more of your info. I just think there are some things that should not be accessible like this. But then again, doctors, lawyers, and even motor vehicle agencies keep all their info on some sort of network. So our information has been made available to hackers long ago. This will just make it easier.. Just for once, can companies consider the quality of life over the almighty dollar??

GingerLassy
GingerLassy

I do believe that an individual should have access to their medical records however am NOT in favour of this functionality being available through Google (or Yahoo or ....). In my location for example the regional health authority should provide this service, putting in the appopriate security measures of course to adhere to privacy laws etc. Google would not necessarily be exempt from complying with any governmental request to release information as previously stated as there is no Dr/Patient priviledge, what a scary thought!

dawgit
dawgit

The Idea of somehow having access to ones own medical care is (or could be) good. But some how having Google involved would bother me. We do need a system, and it should have been established a long time ago. Normally this is where a Government Agency* would have taken the in initiative, but with some much miss-trust of any Government in these times it is probably impossible now. -d edited to add:* in keeping with the "for the Benifit and Welfare of the People" concept. Not to be cunfused with "We should have a bigger Government". I don't advocate that at all. It would however be nice if a Government would do it's purported funtion. (and still stay out of our business.) -d

Tig2
Tig2

With Google Health, the search giant expects to make user portability of medical records as simple as an Internet connection and a password. But is that the right direction? Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google thinks that Google Health will not only ease portability issues but will also give record transparency to the user so that an individual can be more aggressive in maintaining their own health. The concerns around privacy and security are enormous. On the privacy front, it is still to be determined if doctor/patient privilege will pertain or if a new standard would have to be set. On the security front, it would be necessary to understand exactly how Google plans to safe-guard data from intrusion. Health care data is considered to be the most valuable data there is. Patient records not only contain things like name and address. They contain banking and credit information as well as private information detailing individual vulnerabilities. Obviously, any system that is strong enough to house medical information would also be a system that Google could leverage to extend to financial institutions as well. What do you think? Would you use Google to store your medical records? Edited to add: I ran across this unrelated story that you may want to have a look at. It discusses the challenges of medical IT. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,142926-c,techindustrytrends/article.html Makes you think.

JCitizen
JCitizen

it would be Google. They already have the infrastructure in place, and the security concerns aren't insurmountable as long as they are truely treated as CONCERNS and not just sellable assets. They could sooner do it than some overpriced, inefficient, bloated government project!

Tig2
Tig2

The concept has been proposed many times but it is hard to say if we are ready yet from a security standpoint as well as understanding how to eliminate mis-identification. On one hand, I have been an ER nurse and know how important it is to have good information fast. On the other hand, I know the value of medical information and what it could potentially sell for. I think that we need to be talking about these issues so that when the day comes that we ARE ready for it, we will have a clearer understanding of what we are proposing and what the risks truly are.

JCitizen
JCitizen

how I want to use it to save my life is my business, not the government, not the doctor, only me. If I entrust Google to use it, security leaks are no worse than the way it works now. You don't think your medical information isn't leaking now?! Just read some of the remarks here in this discussion; they are playing dangerously loose with it now, despite HIPAA regulations.

JCitizen
JCitizen

regulations are like the proverbial Dutch boy putting his finger in the dam break.

Tig2
Tig2

A prospective employer can Google me today and if they use the correct diminutive of my first name, they will find... TR. Period. If a prospective employer reads my 3 Day page, they will see that I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Komen. If they know where to look, they MIGHT discover that I am a survivor. And deny employment. It really DOES work that way. It shouldn't but it does.

dodell
dodell

The Bird asked "Just for once, can companies consider the quality of life over the almighty dollar?" The answer is a resounding no! Corporations will never put life or the welfare of citizens over profits. In fact they are required by law to maximize profits. If a corporation chooses to be nice and take a smaller profit they can and will be sued by shareholders. This is why as long as we allow corporations to run our health care system it will be broken. We need to move to single payer health care. Why should we pay for health care through the middleman of insurance companies? So they can skim 20%, make us pay ever rising copays and then deny us medical care?

JCitizen
JCitizen

can access it how do you think the IRS and every other outfit that has information in electronic form is keeping care of it? NOT! At least if only ONE source has it in permanent storage; it is a lot more feasible to lock it down.

JCitizen
JCitizen

And is your government any better than Google at keeping your files secure? I got my doubts all the way around. But if responsibility/liability were charged to Google properly; it could be the cheapest most efficient system in the world. They are already that. No one else has the spare capacity and accuracy of their data assets.

bikingbill
bikingbill

The UK Government has so far spent c.?12.5bn trying to do just this, in what is the world's biggest civilian IT project. More than half of the nation's doctors say they won't use it, citing confidentiality concerns. In addition, it seems that European privacy laws require doctors to obtain express permission from their patients before records can be transferred. Many patients will just ignore the request, some don't trust the Government to secure data properly, and some will decide the Government already knows too much about us. It sounds like a good idea in principle, but there are a lot of practical obstacles which I think may defeat it. I just wish they'd spent the money - my money - on improving patient care.

argale
argale

Google is in the business of SHARING info - not PROTECTING it! Do a search for something like online drug sources and see how much SPAM you collect the next few days! However, some cases the risks of losing personal info can be worth the rewards, like life-threatening conditions. Before getting off this subject, read the Medical Database section of the Recovery and Stimulus Act. The Gov't will have access to ALL your med. data so they can "judge the effectiveness of treatments" to "manage" the future Gov't-provided Universal Healthcare, aka Socialized Medicine, that the Administration is working hard to implement.

reisen55
reisen55

There is already enough internet piracy out there right now. To trust your medical records to this venue -- HEY, ANYBODY WORKING UNDER HIPAA CONSTRAINTS???? --- is to ask for disaster. But hey, Continuum Health Partners in Manhattan has no problems. They manage Roosevelt Hospital, St. Lukes and Beth Israel. In 2006 30 computers were stolen from room 617 in St. Lukes, one from the cafeteria of Roosevelt and there were countless invasions of spyware, worms, malware and porn across an 11,000 node network. And if you go the dumpster at their Secaucus Data Center, and dig, you can find lotsa patient records just THROWN OUT without any shredding at all!!!!!

ajones
ajones

A local medical association that include the many hopsitals in the area started something like this. I got a card in the mail and invitation to put my data on the secure website. I took it to my doctor's office and they said they were not allowed to put any of my data on the web, even if I gave permission. Also they have never had anyone come to them and use the web to provide information. This clinic was very much against it. They said we already have ways to provide info for emergencies with cards in our wallets/purses or bracelets, such as the ones that say diabetic, epileptic, allergic to XYZ, .... So they see no need. Neither do I. Also Government is not good at setting up and using massive and complex computer systems. Look at what happened in Los Angeles. The schools there got a new multiple million dollar system to do teacher's paychecks. When it was ready last year it messed up paychecks for most people. It is now a year later and some people are still getting too little or too much. Not to mention most of not all of the W-2s are wrong! They have dumped 40 millions more into it, but they said it will take them up to 15 years to get all the bugs out!! Geesh, by then we may not use computers like the ones we do today! Seems to me to be a lose-lose situation. Alan

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

1. Privacy, or the lack there of. I have a federal health insurance (TriCare), but I see no reason why my concerns would not apply to commercial insurers as well. About 18 months ago, one of the contractor's data center was physically robbed on hundreds of thousands, if not more, insurance records. Aside from simple physical security, obviously lacking here, no one has perfected the art or science of fully protecting a data center that must connect to the outside world. Simply put, there will be breaches and, the more records are in there, the more lucrative the target and the more resources will be expended to breach it. Because of HIPPA, the password rules for this site are draconian and virtually ensure that passwords for this site are on PostIt notes under keyboard or on monitor bezels. Despite the fact that passwords are generally regarded inherently insecure, there seems to be no interest in anything simpler and more secure. 2. Two or more sources: Google and Microsoft (and their respective agents, vendors and minions). If this is to work at all, providers can not be required to guess which repository has one's records. At a minimum, only one repository would have all the information and other repositories would make reference to it, sort of like authoritative name servers. 3. "The computer is perfect" syndrome. At the moment, providers know they are working with incomplete histories and make allowances for it. However, once those histories are in the computer, they suddenly become perfect, complete and indisputable, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. After all, computers never make mistakes. 4. Accuracy, or the lack thereof, part 1: Control of who can update information. I do not want the same insurance clerk who decided I could not have a kidney transplant removing the evidence that I needed one in the first place. 5. Accuracy, or lack thereof, part 2: who can correct information and how hard will it be to correct? If credit reports are any example, way too many sources will be able to input information and it will be way too hard to correct inaccuracies.

ppg
ppg

For me I would only consider such a system if the database did not contain any information that would be link back to me. If each record was only identified by a one way key then the key could be generated by a password/biometric data. If the database was hacked, the hacker would still not be associate the data with a specific individual. Only if the hacker found out my key (which I have control over) would they have access to my data.

rob
rob

1) The current system offers you no privacy whatsoever..... Files are continuously sent from hospital to specialist etc. etc. This is done by couriers. Now if i am on the top of the pile, i am sure the courier won't have a quick peak, but if my name was Britney Spears..... 2)Files get lost, regularly, without backup! 3)Hospitals are totally overloaded by all the paperwork they have to handle and have to wait for or prepare. In my view, hospitals should cure people, not do their administration. I would therefore advice to have the insurance companies handle the patient/customer files, but this of course only works in countries were everybody has a health insurance.

murillorobert
murillorobert

No mater how secure web sites claim to be there is nothing impossible for the computer hackers. I know for a fact that even with 128 bit encryption there is always a risk so I rather ask my doctor and hospital to provide a copy of my medical records so my privacy is maintain and most important my identity is protected. In this matter Google is all wet! And risking a lawsuit by all those people who have identity theft due to searching medical records using Google.

babu
babu

Online storage is for fools.

lisaz1
lisaz1

I am not sure, due to privacy issues. It is a good idea to have your records at hand when you need them but not good for someone else to gain access to for malicious intent. I'll have to contemplate more on this one.

stephentoddking
stephentoddking

While I wholeheartedly embrace technology improving our lives, etc. This idea of webenabling data such as financial and health with the added benefit of making it available to the user is quite noble. But the risks are simply too great. With all the problems we have already experienced with companies loosing laptops and harddrives, etc. Heck - i just got a letter in the mail last week from one of my CC's telling me that my data MAY have been compromised because of a recent loss of data, etc. (NEVER MIND the fact that they should have called me immediately, etc) Clearly, our present design is just NOT secure enough. Why should we migrate the present "mostly secure" design to the web which as we all know too well is severely vulnerable to hackers, etc. Do you really want their fingers on your medical data? The potential for blackmarket explotation is HUGE. Somebody's health records needs to be LOCKED down so its only be accessed by the Dr. and no one else. Thats it! No one else.

argale
argale

One area of real concern is not the medical info itself but the fact that they are registered - or contain - Social Security numbers! There is rampant identity theft in progress, as we all know, and how do we avoid providing another "easy route" to our identity key? When the Social Security System was originated, the SSN was "supposed" to be almost sacred - not to be used by ANYONE but the System, and perhaps some other government agencies - for ANY purpose. Then banks were let in, then insurance companies got in, then states used it for driver's license numbers, the FAA for pilot's license numbers (they did drop the leading zeros though) and on and on. Even the military now use it for their serial numbers, after starting out with a different 8-digit system. How do protect ourselves from YET ANOTHER vulnerability to identity theft?

mundomaga
mundomaga

Sorta like leaving the door standing open when you know there's a burglar in the neighborhood. No thanks. Privacy Protection- Don't throw your rights away! Thanks.

Snak
Snak

Sheesh this is a good one. There is absolutely no doubt that electronically shareable medical records will be a boon for doctors, hospitals and yes, individuals. I'm sure there are thousands of 'if only we'd known...' cases that would have been helped by such a system. But if it is publicly accessible on a vehicle like Google (no no no) then yes, it is well open to abuse. If it's owned by someone like Microsoft (oh god, no) then yes, it's open to abuse. But to be useful it does need to be on some kind of universally accessible system, and despite the UK government gleefully throwing $25billion of taxes at companies who can recognise incompetents-with-money, such a system does not exist. I feel the ONLY way a system like this could work would be if the ONLY way data could be accessed at any time would be if the person to whom the records belong (that is, the subject of the data) was at the point of delivery (and alive!!). Finger print recognition alone would not be good enough (crooks could easily cut fingers off, although of course that would mean the data were wrong) so a combination of finger print recognition and retina scans plus perhaps a DNA sample would be necessary to get a glimpse of the data. But no system is infallible. I wouldn't actually have any problem with my employer knowing I'd had this removed or that fixed (despite it being none of his/her business) but what would worry me, would be the refusal of Life Insurance because of a wart I had removed 30 years ago. Whilst I think that such a system would be very valuable to many people, and may even save a life or three, it is very dangerous ground due, unfortunately, to the fact that crooks are Humans too, which means of course that anyone can be a crook, even if they label themselves 'government' or 'respectable institution'. Sheesh, this is a good one.

george.miles
george.miles

As long as the guidelines of HIPPA are kept in mind, I don't have a problem with it.

DadsPad
DadsPad

First, I can see there is a need for a national database of secure medical records, this would assist doctors and hospitals. This could also be secured to their (doctors & hospitals) servers. Second, it should only have the doctor's permission for anyone to view, including the individual for whom the record is about. Now, if the doctor has you take a test, he can decide if (the doctor) needs to talk to you about the results before you see them. That is the preference of most doctors. Then he could assign a temp id & pw to see results online. Being able to renew presciptions and make doctor appts online could be an advantage. I currently use a subscription service for a medication, I go on their site, log on and can use the subscription service easily. Without truly well thought out safeguards, a disaster will surely happen.

matt.durcan
matt.durcan

I live in the UK where there is a programme underway to hold health records online accessible across our NHS - National Health Service - unlike the UK Government Google hasn't had to own up to losing 25 million personal records, so maybe the question should be - should I allow my government to hold my health records instead of holding them on Google??

mhbowman
mhbowman

I don't think that any personal information e.g. SS#, banking info, or medical records should be available through Google. I work at a hospital. Government security regulations associated with patient medical records put forth by HIPPA is the number 1 focus of our IT department. Working within patient record software programs that list records, xrays etc. requires the use of test accounts. ALL activity within these programs is logged. You aren't even allowed to view your own records in this capacity. Failure to comply is subject to reprimand and even termination. I've never had any issues associated with having my medical records transferred from my physician to a specialist. The risks associated with this are huge with very little, if any, gain.

scarr_25
scarr_25

How many times have you heard on the news that a major bank or financial institution has had their database hacked? Are you ready for your medical records to be stolen and used against you? I am not, no way.

WorkingGirl
WorkingGirl

For 14.95 any one can get a report about you, your home, your financial status, your medical history. All the person needs is a little info about you. It is provided by a company on the internet.

rwd
rwd

I am a Diabetic and use Medic Alert to list all my medical aliments and prescriptions on line. Wearing my identification medal, I can at least hope that if something happens to me the medical staff will know something about my medical history, Doctors etc. The Google site should only have the medical information that I want, whatever I leave out becomes my problem

dawgit
dawgit

They are probably the only ones who could, at this time actually do it. At the same time, they are the ones who should probably not do it. I think that's the whole problem. So... where are the Uni's and other institutions who should be doing this? -d

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

To be honest I'm pretty ignorant about Medical IT Database/Software. But the field is so broad that it seems like you would need several data models to cover it. ER might have one model, your family physician or surgeon another. The other problem is that of vendors. In my biz they don't make it easy to share data between different vendors. In other words Agilent feels you should purchase Agilent, Varian feels the same about their product, etc. I got a feeling that could be a problem in the medical IT biz as well. Of course if 1 giant (Google, govt, etc) got a large enough market share then the vendors might see their way to making their databases, software, etc compatible. Right now I'm neither for nor against it. I like the concept but the privacy/security issue worries me. And now that you brought up misidentification, well that thought plain scares me! :)

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Have had similar experiences. Ask just to see your x-Ray and you would think it is a major imposition! You have to decide whether it is worth the fight or not. Sometimes it is.

JCitizen
JCitizen

would have personal control of your records; not doctors, insurance, any one - and not Google if they did it right, only you would control who sees the records. It does seem flakey that HIPAA puts the onus on medical agencies but situations like you relate can still happen as an end run around the regulations.

GSG
GSG

I worked for a head hunter while in college. Employers would call us, and have us do the dirty work. They'd specify no white males, or they'd say, we've got our EOC points, so we don't need any minorities, etc..., or my favorite was that they'd actually specify no one over 40 years old.

dawgit
dawgit

but it's even more sad when there is a very real Need for it to happen. But for all polictializing, Bungeling, Money-grabbing, and Wining, it will never happen as hoped. :-( -d

mattohare
mattohare

We seem to have a new story in the news each week of confidential information getting lost. These have been tax records, bank details, even medical details, all 'lost'.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and the fact that the government already has access to a lot of private medical information, may make this argument redundant. Especially if socialized medicine is implemented.

JCitizen
JCitizen

even if he says so; you paid for it, it is yours. However HIPAA regulations are so stilted I wouldn't blame anyone for refusing to do so out of concern at being in violation of the law. This either needs to be fixed by congress or find a health provider to do all your testing that does agree to central repository requests. Only you know who has the safe reputation in your area. There are medical company/doctor referral services that supposedly rate some organizations/doctors but I don't know how believable they are. Lets face it, we consumers need a "United Laboratories" to help us rate medical organizations; fat chance of that happening with the AMA blocking every attempt to reform the system.

robertjvan
robertjvan

I'm taking a copy of my records from the current doctor, bad IDEA this letting GOOGLE or any online have them.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I am the only one that can access it; that way even the Doctor has to have my permission ot look at it. It is not the Doctor property, IT IS MINE!!

JCitizen
JCitizen

something like this Google repository. The most gut wrenching part of health care as I have experienced it has been the constant fight to get MY information to the repective medical provider. Many ridiculous repetitive test become necessary because of this obsolete system where I can't get MY information to my provider. A huge waste of my money as I am not insured(uninsurable). If everyone treated their insurance accounts like it was their money, all hell would break loose at the waste in the system. The facts is - it is OUR money! One way or the other!

argale
argale

This is not a bad option - but that is not unattainable any more. Samples are being taken by "authorities" at every opportunity, and these have to be stored by some identity coding, which can be hacked. Besides, those of us that are old enough to remember the public introduction of DNA anayysis should also remember the insurance companies' first response to it - anogher way to identify people "predisposed to future medical conditions" for elimination or over-charging. The only real questions I see are, 1. How much are we willing to risk to prevent another risk and, 2. Are those chrged with the responsibility of "protecting us", namely Govt., willing and able to do the necessary things to make theft of this info as difficult and painful as possible. Since they (Congress) are almost all lawyers, and lawyers are a significant part of the problem, that seem unlikely.

bboyd
bboyd

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ Miss use of the acronym will make it harder to search for information. I think the Google idea is a very clear violation of HIPAA. Even if a person openly reveals this information it is not valid to retransmit it.

mundomaga
mundomaga

I certainly don't trust Google- or anyone else that's already proven that they'll betray if pushed by the government. Nonetheless, your point is very well taken- There is absolutely no one as untrustworthy as the Government. Presumably because they no longer have to account to the People for anything. Thank you for the reminder.

JCitizen
JCitizen

If Google did it right; only you would give permission to see the files. This has been the problem all along. You spend thousands of dollars of your money(in my case)and the doctor's office treats it as if THEY own it. This is not a problem in the Army; where YOU own your medical records and are responsible to physically transfer them to the next TMC. When a soldier ends his/her tour of duty the records are released to the individual who is responsible for the deposition. If I want Google to maintain a medical record repository with the attending security requirements; that should be my business. If HIPAA needs to be amended to allow this then so be it.

network admin
network admin

and a doctor's office can't be hacked? an employee of the doctor's office can't use your information against you? it happens.

sazabo
sazabo

Check our MotionPHR on iPhone or mymedbox on Google markets for the G! both PHR have all data encrypted with a password on the app. No one but you have access to the data J

network admin
network admin

Coming from a medical background, you don't always have time to call the doctors office to get all information regarding the patient. If the patient can not speak or comes in alone, how do you get the information you need? I believe this could save lives! I agree with what you have said. It should be the patients decision as to what needs to be put out there and should be discussed with your doctor. HIPAA standards will need to be revised to accommodate the internet.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I hope things are better in my fatherland. And by the way felicitations to you and others who join TR from around the world;it is good to have a wide opinion and input from the global community. I have many relatives I am quite fond of from Germany! :)

Tig2
Tig2

In the hospital, you are constantly verifying that you are dealing with the correct patient. Failure to do so can lead to things like the mis-administration of medication and worse. There are people on the "do not fly" list that either plain shouldn't be there or are mis-identifications of people who should due to similarity of a name or location. There would have to be some very robust checks in place to insure that a person is not mis-identified.

mhbowman
mhbowman

I've seen people get/lose jobs coming out of college depending on the EOC points needed. Literally one person with a 4.0 was told they had no openings and wasn't even granted an interview. Meanwhile another person with a 2.8 was hired on the spot. My ex worked at a company that layed off approximately 300 people. Oddly enough, everyone of them were in the 51-65 age bracket. Some of them had been with the company for 20+ years and had as little as 2 years to go before retirement. The company got hit with a class action lawsuit for age discrimination.

Tig2
Tig2

That makes initiatives like Real ID very unattractive to most people. There is no guarantee that the government can be trusted with personal information. Another story recently released discusses some of the challenges that medical IT faces on a daily basis. Have a look at this: http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,142926-c,techindustrytrends/article.html Obviously the concerns are very real. Google may have missed the market on this one.

argale
argale

One of the biggest losers of records and personal info, including medical info, has been the VA. They protect our data so well that large amounts of it were allowed to be carried out by "regular" employees (not even specialists). Others are the INS (which fortunately no longer exists as such), the Opst Office (whose data is so faulty that it is beyond concern, almost), and if you have the patience, the Freedom of Information Act.

network admin
network admin

.. but come potential employers already google your name to see what they can find. no your potential employer will not hack a doctors office, but someone else can. i do understand what you and others are saying. i'm enjoying reading all the posts for the individual ideas. keep em coming!

bboyd
bboyd

Its the semi-legal that Google and M$ will empower. Your potential employer will not hack the doctors office. But it will sure Google any information it can. A company has no right to this information. Neither does any entity other than you and your doctor.

dodell
dodell

Switching to a single payer health care plan in this country could remove some of the worst consequences of a breach of privacy. Single payer is where we would all pool our money to pay for health care for anyone in the country. All other industrialized nations have it in some form. They pay half what we do for health care and are healthier. With single payer your health insurance is no longer tied to your employer so in the worst case if your health records get leaked you won't lose your job or your health insurance because everyone's covered no matter what.

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