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Do electronic medical records violate patient rights?

March 18, 2009
{{pt}}Modelo de bilhete de identidade português.
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So, some poorly developed writer with a weak sense of argument posted on Salon about electronic medical records. I think he is used to resting on his initials (M.D.) as opposed to his skills. I had to set him straight.

love the one-sided argument here, with a single case study and the rah-rah for Obama in this article, so nuanced, so descriptive.  What about the case of people whose identities are stolen, or who want a 2nd or 3rd opinion without the government state care qualities of health records.  What if we dont’ want some podunk ER to have access to all our records at the touch of a button?  No one, and particularly doctors, who have god complexes anyway,have the right to all of a person’s health information without the consumer having a choice.  This is what current HIPPA standards protect.  Unless you can convince people to get a government ID card to walk the streets, you aren’t going to convince people that completely computerized records are better.  Simplistic argument at best, ignorant if you are lenient, and downright dangerous if you are looking out for people’s rights to privacy, even in a doctor’s office.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2009 2:36 pm

    Sorry this is late — I’ve been out of town for way too long and am just getting caught up

    I teach biomedical ethics and we’re discussing this issue in class this week.

    Based on your post, it seems that you are conflating several issues. 1) Government control of care — it isn’t the case that standardized and electronic medical records equates to the government being able to veto second and third opinoins. Rather, this would be a function of a single-payer system. The two are separate.

    2) While it is the case that someone in a rural clinic COULD look up your records, they’d have to have a good reason to do so and would likely loose their job if they did it without a good reason. So, if your high school frenemy started randomly looking up her frenemies, they’d be able to track her access and see that she had no reason to look at your records. Further, if you made a complaint they’d be able to see who accessed your records and they’d be fired for sure.

    I suppose you could say that you don’t want doctor X to know what doctor Y says — but, I’m not sure why that’s a problem unless you are trying to pull a fast one to get prescription drugs — and I’m sure that’s not the case for you… so, please explain what the problem is– if you choose to see a provider, choose to get treatment etc — don’t you wan tthe person treating you to have the complete data about you? Frankly, the harms I’ve personally had have been because they’ve failed to read my medical records, not because they HAVE read them.

    So, I’m not sure what you think the harm is — and the advantages are pretty clear. A) A complete picture of your medical history in an emergency or non-emergency situation. B) Efficency — about 25% of all medical cost comes from translating from one system to another – in terms of billing and movement of records between providers.

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      March 28, 2009 6:47 pm

      Nope, I don’t want a doctor to have access to all the records unless I choose to give them access. Doctors are people too, and in case you have forgotten, people have gotten fired for accessing records when they shouldn’t–the precedent has been set. I don’t believe that just because a person has an M.D. or because I ask for an opinion that a particular person gets access over my records, with complete editorial rights of their own. I don’t want everyone to have a complete medical history of me, and that has nothing to do with drugs, it has to do with privacy. Very few of my physicians have a complete record, and I trust them to have it, but a simple M.D. does not make for a perfect or trustworthy person. As far as efficiency goes, there are some advantages but some distinct disadvantages. I know of doctors who have carpal tunnel from only being able to use the computer, who have said the computer slows them down and they can’t enter in the information they want. Basically it all comes down to preference, and one simple size never fits everyone. I am not interested in giving up my privacy for the common good, so that is a mute point, and my personal physician isn’t interested in giving up his hands to carpal tunnel or his time to systems that don’t work in his office. You assume that because you are a physician that you deserve to have access to every patient you see, in any way you see fit–I don’t agree. Furthermore, I don’t care if someone is fired for looking up records, they already have accessed my personal information, and the damage has been done. Firing is too little too late. And besides, you are thinking like the “good guy” with no thought to how criminals think. you assume that people will follow the rules because no one will want to lose their job; you underestimate the fact that someone may get the job to get records. You assume I am worried about highschool “frenemy,” as though it is simply a case of having someone I know look something up, and you underestimate what can truly happen. I don’t want a single payer system because I just don’t trust the system, and for very good but private reasons.

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