Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NO to computerized medical records

There is absolutely no reason for a patient's medical records to be on the Internet. No one talks about how privacy is going to be protected. That's because privacy can't be protected.

I have heard congressmen and senators actually say that computerized medical records are important because:

1. The government can ensure that the correct treatment and without duplication will be provided to the patient.

My response: Veterans Administration Hospitals are run in this way and VA Hospitals are not the standard that we should aspire to.

2. Doctors handwriting is hard to decipher.

My response: Okay, maybe so. Then I understand the usefulness of e-prescribing. But, with respect to medical records being written with bad handwriting, most doctors dictate the medical records.

If there is handwriting on some progress notes then the bad handwriting should be deciphered by a nurse or another doctor that is also treating the patient. Nurses are supposed to be relying on the handwritten notes. So wouldn't that professional resolve the ambiguity, if any?

HIPAA will be effectively neutered. No one can guarantee that your records will be protected from hackers or those who have no business looking at your records.

(1) What if you had mental health issues?

(2) What if you have a medical condition that might concern a potential employer?

(3) What if you had a drug or alcohol problem?

(4) How often are you in a strange location and admitted to an ED in such a condition that you are unable to inform the ED physician about your medical history?

(5) What ever happened to a physician picking up a telephone and calling another physician to ask about a patient?

(6) You sign HIPPA forms for each of your doctors. It matters who has access to your medical records. Computerized medical records would effectively give strangers and nosey people throughout the world access to your medical history. Are you ready for that?

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