Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Electronic medical records: the ultimate bad idea.

Lots of push on these days for EMR, Electronic Medical Records. Government in Ontario is offering big, big discounts for all sorts of EMR services. Lots and lots of patient benifits are touted by the vendors and by government.

Here's the down side:

President Barack Obama said he wants to see state governments contribute more names of people barred from buying guns to the database, part of a sweeping set of executive actions he announced after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

The database, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is used by gun dealers to check whether a potential buyer is prohibited from owning a gun.

States are encouraged to report to the database the names of people who are not allowed to buy guns because they have been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, or have been found to have serious mental illnesses by courts.

Many states do not participate. So the administration is looking at changing a health privacy rule - part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) - to remove one potential barrier.

The "potential barrier" they're talking about so coyly is doctor/patient confidentiality. What they are going to do is access all the Electronic Medical Records for the whole country and compare NICS hits (You think they delete those liek they're supposed to? Really?) to lists of people they judge to be mentally incompetent. This will of course be interpreted to include the largest possible number of people, because that's what this is about. Banning guns. So if you ever had to see a counselor,  or needed some anti-depressants for a couple months because of whatever, you will be on that list.

If your doctor uses electronic medical records instead of good old pen and paper, you should be very concerned. You should assume that government employees who are not your friends will be reading those medical records, and govern yourself accordingly. Patients and the VA have been having this problem for ten years now, the rest of the country is just catching up. And just because you're a Canadian is no reason to think that isn't going to happen to you. I'd be willing to bet its already happening, and they just can't legally admit it.  Pretty soon it will be legal, and things will start happening on the basis of what's in your file.

Coupled with the phone tapping and cell tower records, this is getting to be pretty complete coverage ain't it? Barry wants to know what you had for breakfast last Tuesday, he'll know. Just a button click away.

The Phantom

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