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Google to store health records
Old 02-21-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
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Google to store health records

The following story says that Google will store medical records on up to 10,000 patient volunteers from the Cleveland clinic to demonstrate their new health management service. The records are supposed to be kept private, accessible by password to selected physicians.

My Way News - Google to Store Patients' Health Records

My gut reaction is to worry about the potential for violation of privacy. This provides opportunities for health insurance companies to access data from which to deny claims, or for cybercrooks, the government, etc, to use the information for their own ends instead of for out better health.

On the other hand, the data is there anyway, just fragmented across different physicians' offices, is difficult to access or may even become inaccessible after a while, and may delay treatment.

The military health system has been developing electronic access to records, and it really is convenient to the patient. I can go to any military doctor, at least in my region, and have them access records from any other doctor or facility at which I've been seen. And I have a pretty high level of trust in their ability to maintain my privacy.

So, maybe this would be a good way to lower health care costs and improve treatment, if the privacy issues could be addressed.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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Most major entities already have electronic records and the quality and security is variable. What this introduces to the scene is the potential for massive scope (which is both good and bad), high profile and thus targeting by bad guys. OTOH, Google has the resources to do it right.

For me to access my patient records now, I need a double password entry, and I carry an electronic token which generates a new random 6 digit number every 3 minutes or so, and this has to be entered immediately after my password for entry. Then there are timeouts, 3 month password changes, etc. It's a pain but I think justified.

We'll see where this goes.
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Old 02-21-2008, 04:15 PM   #3
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In basic concept I support a central data base of medical records. A few years back I had a bunch of x-rays taken by my GP to diagnose a shoulder issue. When the GP sent me to a specialist, he wanted to take a whole new set of x-rays! When I objected, he said "Well, did you bring them with you?" How ridiculous is that?
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:56 AM   #4
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I am unsure what the concerns over "privacy" issues are. I can, for example, see worrying about a candidate insurance company finding a "pre-existing" condition and all that entails. However, I would suspect (without collusion by your doctor) that every insurance company already knows everything it needs to know about you -- same is true of employers. So I guess my question is: Other than an Insurance Company or employer reading the data, what else should I fear from having all my medical data in one place?
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Most major entities already have electronic records and the quality and security is variable. What this introduces to the scene is the potential for massive scope (which is both good and bad), high profile and thus targeting by bad guys. OTOH, Google has the resources to do it right.

For me to access my patient records now, I need a double password entry, and I carry an electronic token which generates a new random 6 digit number every 3 minutes or so, and this has to be entered immediately after my password for entry. Then there are timeouts, 3 month password changes, etc. It's a pain but I think justified.

We'll see where this goes.
I had to work with a system like this before. It was with a major brokerage firm. And it was exactly like you said.
I always wonder what the cost of such a system is?
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:32 AM   #6
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There's something vaguely similar to a 'nationwide' database:

MIB

Although it's a private company that does background checks for a variety of insurance applications (health, life, etc.)

You can even get a free copy of what their file is on you at
Request Your MIB Consumer File - MIB Group, Inc.

However, they apparently only do the snooping if you've applied for an individual policy in the past 7 years.
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:10 PM   #7
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I can understand the advantages of having the data available. Security and privacy are concerns to be sure. Another possible problem Technology is a bit ahead of any regulation to ensure it is not abused or used for purposes no one would understand today. (Not covered by current regs)

A few issues that would need to be sorted out are who owns the data, how can it be used and for what, how is it regulated, who gets access to the data and how is access controlled (people quit jobs left and right). Also, does that mean that your data with your doctor is available to some neighbor that happens to work for the dentist? There are many details and issues.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #8
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Interesting article in today's New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/he...th&oref=slogin) that addresses this issue... sort of.


"Such discrimination appears to be rare; even proponents of federal legislation that would outlaw it can cite few examples of it. But thousands of people accustomed to a health insurance system in which known risks carry financial penalties are drawing their own conclusions about how a genetic predisposition to disease is likely to be regarded."

and more to the point:

“Something needs to be done so that you cannot be discriminated against when you know about these things,” she (Victoria Grove) said. “Otherwise you are sicker, your life is shorter and you’re not doing what you need to protect yourself.”
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:33 AM   #9
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In principle I love the idea of central electronic health records. I think that has the potential to eliminate a lot of unnecessary, redundant procedures (i.e. added costs) as well as make sure a new physician knows about particularly relevant conditions and past problems that could influence the choice of treatments in the future.

But I really fear the potential for misuse/abuse by insurers, employers, government and others, even if there are laws in place to prohibit such abuse.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:35 AM   #10
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Not to mention the increase in Medical Identity theft. This type of fraud is growing.

World Privacy Forum | Medical Identity Theft Page
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
There's something vaguely similar to a 'nationwide' database:

MIB

Although it's a private company that does background checks for a variety of insurance applications (health, life, etc.)

You can even get a free copy of what their file is on you at
Request Your MIB Consumer File - MIB Group, Inc.

However, they apparently only do the snooping if you've applied for an individual policy in the past 7 years.
Boy, I can't help but wonder what the acronym stands for. My first thought was Men In Black (Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones).
My second thought was "Medical Information Business".
Unfortunately, I didn't find anything on their site stating what MIB stands for. :confused:
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:38 AM   #12
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myself View Post
Unfortunately, I didn't find anything on their site stating what MIB stands for.

Medical Information Bureau
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:21 AM   #14
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What Rich in Tampa said...MIB is also an acronym for medical information bus - inerface mechanism for medical devices to send information to clinical information systems.....one last thing - Google has to make money somehow - they can't be benevolent forever or ever, so what's their benefit in this? Microsoft is also offering their healthvault product - again, what do they get out of it?

Let's just say many of these companies are looking for other industrial sectors to capitalize on and they are at the lower end of the knowledge curve right now.
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