Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Poll Shows Two-Thirds Of Doctors Reluctant To Share Health Data With Patients

Concerns about openness and transparency remain in the medical profession.  Despite growing demand for personal EHR information, and the idea that a patient owns his own data in the EHR, some physicians are concerned in certain cases with diagnoses that patients may not understand, or create anxiety.

There are certain groups of patients whereby release of a diagnosis or where entering private information could expose information which patients do not want shared with caregivers, or family.  Also in some cases a physician may wish to prescribe a placebo. In these cases the provider would not want the patient to know they are taking a 'sugar pill".  Many patients when told they are taking a certain medicine will respond to a placebo just as they would to the actual medication. This is proven medical fact, and assists a provider to make a correct diagnosis, such as a conversion reaction, or assessi a patient's suggestibility.

This is a rule which runs counter to good medical practice, yet it is absent from EHR  guidelines.

In accordance with HIPAA (which is inflexible) no one is allowed to disclose a patients information with others without a signed consent.

Much of a patient's data will be open in health data exchanges. In essence this places data in the wild, and with the transition to cloud based EHR application exposure is a real concern despite heavy encryption. Even strongly encrypted web sites such as password libraries such as LastPass have been hacked.  Details on the heavy encryption LastPass uses can be found here

 Openness and transparency have become a mantra for the patient-centered advocacy groups, which runs counter to a secure electronic health record stored in the cloud. Client servers housed in the medical practice are physically and electronically more secure.

If patients have a concern they should as where their electronic medical record is housed

Another weak point for security are Web Portals were a patient can log into his medical record for prescription information, e-messaging a physician, schedule appointments, or printing a summary of their EHR record.

Hackers are more interested in extracting personal financial information from the record, such as social security numbers, birth dates, and other personal financial information rather than the actual health information  of the EHR.

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