National Health Database: Good Medicine Or Privacy Nightmare? - InformationWeek

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National Health Database: Good Medicine Or Privacy Nightmare?
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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2014 | 7:49:54 AM
Re: hours?
@Alison: Actually, now that you mention it, they gave me a survey to assess how -- if at all -- depressed I was.

Hmmm...
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
9/8/2014 | 10:07:34 AM
Re: Little of both
A national database would provide researchers, government, pharmaceutical companies, and others with tremendous insight into all sorts of things. For example, they could know, in real-time, when and where people are getting contagious diseases like flu, measles, or mumps, then act accordingly. It would also help combat things like Ebola and MERS, as well as cancer. As you say, @pfretty, it would be vital for buy-in that any and all participants reassure the general public about the sanctity of this data, that it's truly de-identified, and secure. Without those valid assurances, then the repercussions could be dangerous (as in some people might avoid healthcare, lie to clinicians, etc.).
pfretty
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pfretty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/8/2014 | 9:29:31 AM
Little of both
Assuming organizations are diligent in complying with best practices, this goal of a centralized health database has far more benefits than detractors. Not only could it help ease usage when people travel, it also opens up the opportunity for strategic big data analysis that could help create better interfaces and treatments. Insight discovery is one of the most powerful goals as echoed in a recent SAS survey. The more organizations understand their environment, the better they operate. The key is compliance and adhereance to proven security tactics. 

 

Peter Fretty
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 9:33:52 AM
Re: Sounds like a fairy tale more than a nightmare
Thanks for the international perspective, @Li Tan. Would you prefer to have your healthcare providers linked, so you (ideally, anyway!) didn't have to repeatedly provide new doctors or testing centers with the same information? Or do you prefer the way your healthcare system is structured? Is China looking to a more integrated network or is it keeping the status quo? It's fascinating to learn how other nations tackle this common problem: I think all countries face the same challenges -- trying to reduce the cost of care, while simultaneously improving the quality and scope. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2014 | 9:30:09 AM
Re: hours?
Did the doctor's office say or do anything after you checked the "no" box, Joe? Like you, I certainly read the fineprint very carefully these days, although I wish I had gone to law school sometimes because some providers' paperwork is far from clear. I've never had a problem when I won't give an SSN, although I'm amazed at how many offices still include that line in their forms. 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 1:43:48 AM
Re: Sounds like a fairy tale more than a nightmare
Some cents from my side - in China we are far from establishing a centralized data warehouse to store personal health information. Even different hospitals are not interconnected and patient information is not shared. In other words, you need to create a new profile if you change the hospital! So the threats/fairy tale described in this post should not happen in short term in China.:-)
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 10:28:40 PM
Re: Another Epic Government Fail to Screw Americans
@Susan: There's also insurance carriers.  Cyberinsurance carriers may require their clients to do more than the bare minimum.  What's more, some take measures to help ensure that their clients have better security, including training.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 3:37:48 PM
Re: hours?
@Alison: I suppose that's true (re: the cumulative effect).  At the same time, from a risk standpoint, I'm not convinced it's worth it -- especially considering the heightened spotlight being shed on data breaches.

At my most recent physical, I was given a very lengthy, fine-print consent document to sign regarding putting all of my health data in a third-party-maintained public cloud database.  Given that the words "secure database" were used so often, the rather extreme fearmongering language used to coax me into signing (i.e., that i might not get the best medical care in an emergency), and my specialized knowledge of the subject of healthcare data security, I quickly checked "No, I do not consent" before I finished reading even half of it.

I've already had one compromise of my electronic health data.  I don't care for another.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 9:16:49 AM
Re: Sounds like a fairy tale more than a nightmare
Yes - the whole basis of our application is to collect the whirl wind of documentation that surrounds a patients visit, he had no concept of any of that.  We didn't didn't hire him although it would have been interesting to see how he would have worked out.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 9:06:33 AM
Re: Sounds like a fairy tale more than a nightmare
It is interesting to hear how different countries operate. I come from the UK originally, home of course to National Health which is also run by government. As I recall (I was a child when I relocated to US), you're given a National Health number when you're born (we don't have SSNs in UK). So of course the government knows all your health info. OTOH, you cannot be deprived of health insurance, irregardless of your condition. And, contrary to some things I've seen online, if you're wealthy enough or choose to spend your hard-earned money in this manner, you can purchase private insurance. 

Was this gentleman surprised at the complexity of the US system, since it's private instead of government-run? Really interesting story!
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