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    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Porta Records: The Senate passed an Act to encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to encourage the rest of us to adopt electronic records. The main goal, according to the article, is to encourage medical record portability:

    People could carry their medical records around their necks or on key chains through technology being encouraged in a bill passed Friday by the Senate.

    "When they go to the doctor's office they won't have to take that little clipboard and figure out whatever it is that they can remember about their health," said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

    That sounds wonderful. But, there is something very similar to this already in place. It contains what is easily the most important medical information for any patient. It's called a medication wallet card. You don't have to own any fancy technology or even buy a special card. You can just write down the medication you take on a piece of paper, fold it up, keep it in your wallet, and up date every time there's a change. And yet, very few people do this.

    I suspect the same thing would happen with little flash card medical records. You can give them to people, but you can't make them remember to carry them on their person at all times. And what happens if they misplace them?

    Of course, the information could be kept in one centralized location and accessed by any computer, but that, too, has its problems:

    Dr. Deborah Peel, president of the watchdog group Patient Privacy Rights, complained that the bill doesn't include enough protections to keep personal information out of the hands of people who shouldn't have it _ such as employers, who could use it to discriminate against employees and potential hires.

    "There's no recognition of every American's fundamental right to make a decision as to who can see medical information about them," she said. "The point is that patients want to be asked."

    Peel said patients should be allowed to "segment" their information _ or request that some of it not be made electronic or that certain electronic files be shared only with a few people.

    Imagine how easy it would be for someone to get their hands on the medical records of a celebrity - or a politician. Those Senators might want to think about that.

    posted by Sydney on 11/22/2005 07:08:00 AM 0 comments


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