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
8/27/2014 | 11:46:04 PM
hours?
"Hours" filling out forms???  How are these hours spent?  I just filled out one of those forms a week ago.  You write your name and address, check a box, and sign.

I'd rather keep my privacy.  You still have to fill out other paperwork when you see a new doctor anyway.
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
8/27/2014 | 6:48:03 PM
Good medicine or privacy nightmare!
I feel privacy issues cause nightmares for good medicine to be practiced. How much privacy and at what cost. Where does one draw the line. There are healthcare organisations that are able to do a decent job of protecting privacy, but with big data on the rise it costs dollars and may eventually push the costs of healthcare!
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
8/27/2014 | 6:35:08 PM
Re: Interoperability is positive, but accurate patient ID is the linchpin
@Alison, sometimes it seems like a better option making the patient responsible for the data than organisations! But having said that there are lots of reasons that is not feasible in so many ways!
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 5:27:56 PM
Re: Another Epic Government Fail to Screw Americans
Yes, exactly. Willfully ignoring security seems to happen less with PCI-regulated entities because there could be business-ending consequences. There rarely are, but at least the threat is there. HIPAA is like a guard dog with no teeth.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 5:21:54 PM
Re: Interoperability is positive, but accurate patient ID is the linchpin
I agree completely with this approach. With the huge infiltration of smartphones today, might this approach actually work best? You'd think we could all carry our health information with us (I know, it's been tried!), making patients responsible for data, instead of organizations. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 5:20:00 PM
Re: Another Epic Government Fail to Screw Americans
I don't even know whether ACA is part of this any more. Data is good business, whether or not people are insured or not, whether Meaningful Use 2 or 8 is in effect, or whether CPOE is rule of law or voluntary (in which case, most likely nobody would do it!). But I totally agree with you, Lorna, regarding compliance vs. penalties. What continues to stick out regarding the Community Health Systems breach is that the company's stock rose after the news broke. Sure, it dropped a bit a couple of days later, but who knows whether the breach had anything to do with that downward movement? Just as we saw BoA pay a big penalty it can mostly or totally write off on its taxes and no one got jail time (many years after the financial crash it helped cause), relatively toothless HIPAA penalties won't do much to protect data or privacy. 
Thomas Claburn
IW Pick
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 4:36:59 PM
Re: Interoperability is positive, but accurate patient ID is the linchpin
The whole idea of a central health database should be turned on its head. Patients should have the infrastructure to make their data accessible to relevant parties upon request and to do so in a way that does not compromise their privacy.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 3:38:24 PM
Re: Another Epic Government Fail to Screw Americans
If you ask an HC CIO why they don't fully follow HIPAA rules, and they're in a truth-telling mood, they'll say that it's because it's much, much less expensive to pay the fines than to implement the programs to comply with the letter and spirit of the law. That's human, and corporate, nature. Unless regulators have the manpower and legal authority to inflict real pain on entities that fail to secure PII well, security will be spotty.

And again, this goes back to the worldview that the ACA should be scrapped, even that governance in and of itself is bad and should be shrunken until of drownable size. Putting someone with that opinion in charge of deciding whether to take steps and allocate funds to make the law work is folly, most especially given the role of money in politics. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 3:09:47 PM
Re: Interoperability is positive, but accurate patient ID is the linchpin
Thanks for the updated information, M2SYS. I had been talking to the IT director at a hospital at the time, hence the clinician example. Obviously if a system's for use by patients, gloves aren't an issue -- and healthcare providers can use less expensive, less sensitive systems. Good to know there are systems that do offer providers more sensitivity. Time is so important to clinicians; saving a few seconds per patient adds up, and biometrics offers healthcare providers a way to shave off time -- improving care and security.
M2SYS
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M2SYS,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/27/2014 | 3:05:36 PM
Re: Interoperability is positive, but accurate patient ID is the linchpin
Alison - the sophistication of fingerprint readers has advanced to the point where some are able to read fingerprints even when an end user is wearing latex gloves. Not all fingerprint providers can boast this, but the more savvy ones have built devices that are more practical for Dr's and nurses to use in a clinical setting where wearing gloves is mandatory. Usually though, these deployments of biometrics are for medication access, or single sign on applications to log into a hospital EHR database, or any database that contains PHI for that matter.

For patient identification, fingerprints are an option but when presented with the hardware modality options, most healthcare orgs choose something like palm vein or iris recogniton due to the fact that they don't rely on skin integrity (which fingerprint does, and may inadvertently exclude a percentage of the patient population from eligiblity) to identify a patient and some (iris) are non-contact which supports hospital infection control protocols.

So it's important to distinguish the use of biometrics for clinicians to access medicine or a medical database vs. biometrics for patient identification, but as you point out, the use of biometrics for both capacities is certainly rising in the industry. 

 
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