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Don’t FIPPA your PIPA without knowing this when it comes to personal health information.
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Vancouver, BC – May 3, 2010

Stethoscope and keyboardWhen it comes to the privacy of personal health information everyone in British Columbia needs to know how FIPPA (also known as FOIPPA) is different from PIPA, and the same may apply in other jurisdictions across Canada and elsewhere.

This is of particular importance when information is shared between your doctor's private office and a hospital or clinic operated by the Health Authority which is a public body.

In BC, three different legislative Acts govern the privacy and protection of individual personal health information.  There are some very important differences in how these work and the results they have that should be known to all doctors, health providers and patients/clients.

Initial responses and comments from survey on new agreement
Public

Here are the initial responses and comments received from the survey on the new BC health care agreement with doctors.

The survey is now closed.

Here are the results and comments:

Internet search activity as measures of human health trends
Public

With millions of searches done on the Internet every day it is no surprise that search engine giants like Google are exploring many applications of the search activity data.

One interesting application of Internet search activity data is Google Flu Trends that while providing graphs of results from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, says of itself:

Viscose rayon and health effects on workers during manufacturing
Public

 Fake Silk by Paul BlancPaul Blanc, University of California professor of medicine, chair of occupational and environmental medicine and author of the book "Fake Silk - The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon" has written about the dangers and health effects to workers in the manufacturing of these materials.

In a recent radio interview on CBC The Current he talks of the dangers and medical effects of exposure to carbon disulfide used in the manufacturing process and the diversity of products. He speaks of places where there are better working conditions and worker safeguards while there are other places where this is not so.

The toxic effects of carbon disulfide are dramatic and onset early. It easily travels into brain tissue and causes insanity along with other medical problems.

US Federal Judge finds Google's Gmail scanning might violate wiretap law
Public

Gmail scanningSome patients and others have noticed when dealing with an MVA claim they start seeing more ads for lawyers when they are browsing the Internet making them wonder if someone is scanning their email.

Wired magazine reported on this week's decision in a proposed class-action alleging Google wiretaps Gmail as part of its business model.

"A federal judge today found that Google may have breached federal and California wiretapping laws for machine-scanning Gmail messages as part of its business model to create user profiles and provide targeted advertising. ...

"The decision is also a blow to Yahoo, whose free email platform with more than 300 million users also scans email to deliver ads. Microsoft’s rebranded free Outlook webmail offering does not scan messages of its 400 million users.

Dr. James Busser
Public

DrBusser-tweetsI enjoyed the privilege of attending the celebration of the life of the late Jim Busser on this Friday past. I was already aware that he had been an exceptional human being, yet it was a remarkable revelation to listen to the recollections of those who rose to speak of their connections with him. 

CMAJ news: Alarm growing over limited access to BC PharmaNet data by scientists
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CMAJ newsOn Monday April 22, 2013 the CMAJ, Canadian Medical Association Journal, published news of the growing alarm over limited access to BC PharmaNet data by scientists hobbling drug-safety watchdogs.

Spanning eleven months, amid abrupt dismissals of staff and scientists, a cloud of wrongful dismissal claims and pending an investigation, the ministry has severely restricted access to data from its PharmaNet databases.

Dr. David Henry, chief executive officer of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, warns "The most comprehensive data in Canada has been denied to us," noting that the BC government has failed to respond to repeated inquiries from alarmed scientists across Canada. "We've not been given a way forward."

Why do Ontario docs rock on a different day?
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I'm always happy to receive wishes to have a good day.

Today, I was surprised by a designated doctor's day on May 1 in Ontario. Complete with kids coloring page, "My doc rocks because ..."

This is new to me. I've never celebrated doctor's day or known anyone who has.

On looking a little further I found that March 30 is touted as a national doctors day,

Federal Government seeks intervenor status in B.C. health care court case
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Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver - April 26, 2016.

Below is a link to the Globe and Mail article from April 13, 2016.

Hopefully, the debate around the court case, involving Dr. Brian Day's private Cambie Surgery Centre and the BC Provincial Government with a trial scheduled to begin June 6, will not become polarized with views of exclusivity between public and private health care but instead what we could and should do to make public health care more effective so that escape valves, like private care, are less needed without eradicating access to private care by individuals should they need it.

How far do individuals have to go? If the public system delivers the needed service great. If not, is there private care here at home in Canada or do people have to go to other countries?

Last kick at the can for some tax credits
Public

This tax season has been one of the least stressful thanks in large part to StudioTax free software for Canadian tax filing.

Also, thanks to a colleague sharing their recommendation and experience along with a few helpful tips to encourage using it.

Only after having completed the Netfile process I came across an article on the Globe and Mail website highlighting the last kick at the can for some tax credits. Some of these extend into the 2016 and 2017 Tax years and well worth a look. They relate to Fitness and Art tax credits, Education and textbook credits, as well as some less broadly applicable ones.

Do doctors need legislation to assist patients end of life?
Public

Since the Supreme Court of Canada February 6, 2015 decision on physician assisted suicide the question on people's minds is, "Do physicians need legislation to help them with this ruling?"

The BC Civil Liberties Association ( BCCLA) was quick to allay any fears of a void occurring should new legislation not be enacted by Federal or Provincial Governments reminding that if no action is taken, physician-assisted dying will be regulated in the same manner as other health care matters.

Nutrients in Our Food
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USDA Nutrient Database search urlIf you ever find yourself wondering what nutrients are in different foods you might want to take a look at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient database. 

It provides a wealth of information on over 7,500 specific food items and details of the nutrients they contain down to the many different minerals, vitamins, types of fats, carbohydrates, proteins and various amino acids.

There are two very useful ways to look at this information on their website. 

You can search for a specific food item and see all the nutrients it contains at
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

For example you can look up "pistachio" nuts, dry roasted or some other food item and see the list of different nutrients measured in that food item.

US launches new MyPlate icon as reminder for healthier food choices
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MyPlate IconOn June 2, 2011 US First Lady Michelle Obama and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government's new food icon, MyPlate.  MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to make healthier food choices and to seek more information by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “It’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

Job Posting for Deputy Registrar at College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSBC) – Is something different?
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Z. Essak, MD – Vancouver, BC – 2015 Apr 23

medical regulation shield imageThe College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is looking to hire a new Deputy Registrar with the deadline for applications of April 30, 2015 fast approaching.

Is there something different about the experience required in this job posting – “a career opportunity in medical regulation”?

The proven experience and qualifications all candidates should have begins with, "minimum 10 years of senior administrative experience in a complex health-related organization (e.g. regulator, health authority, association, etc.)"

Also the requirements, while including "medical degree preferred", are open to others with "master of business/health administration or law degree also accepted".

Is this a sign of changes or a shift underway at the College (CPSBC)?

are you sure you want to drive this car ?
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You are done driving your bicycle, as you have successfully completed your race car driving school.

You decide that it is time to buy a car and put your training to use, driving people around, to feed your family, pay your student loans, mortgage etc …

You go to the only car dealerships available, all state owned dealerships, and you have no choice as they have a state sanctioned monopoly.

News Items

Will BC doctors do something before it's too late?
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Doctors hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing.Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - September 9, 2017.

There are a lot of calamities in the world today grabbing our attention so why is this important now?

This directly affects our BC health care system, which has slipped from being one of the best in the world to below the top ten. You don't have to tell patients and families who need care, they already see the cracks and hurdles everyday as they wait and hope to get the care they need.

What is happening this week at the BC Medical Association, the Doctors of BC, is critical. They are a well-funded, important organization that negotiates on behalf of all doctors with the BC Government and co-managing public health care. This affects not only doctors but patients and everyone in BC. It cannot be ignored.

Doctors may have become apathetic and cynical with low professional satisfaction as they feel overworked and struggle trying to get people the care they need. However, now is a critical time for them to consider these important facts. If they don't act now things may get a lot worse.

Dr Eric Cadesky becomes new President-Elect Doctors Of BC
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Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - July 26, 2017.

Congratulations to Dr Eric Cadesky on winning the election for President-Elect of the Doctors Of BC, the BC Medical Association.

It has been an interesting campaign with opportunities to get to know both candidates, Dr Eric Cadesky and Dr Jean-Noel Mahy, through not only their websites but also meeting them in person at the debate and for everyone to see them on the YouTube live stream and recorded video of the debate.

Seeing both candidates making such efforts to promote thought and discussion about health care in BC it is disappointing that only 16 percent of doctor members even voted.

Dr. James Busser
Public

DrBusser-tweetsI enjoyed the privilege of attending the celebration of the life of the late Jim Busser on this Friday past. I was already aware that he had been an exceptional human being, yet it was a remarkable revelation to listen to the recollections of those who rose to speak of their connections with him. 

Why BC needs a change of Government in this election
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Dr. Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - May 5, 2017.

Yes - this is an important election. Some people have already voted at early polls ahead of the general election day on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Meanwhile, many are still undecided how they will vote.

After 16 years of the same party, the BC Liberals in office since 2001, there are compelling reasons for a change.

Will the new BC Societies Act transition be a train wreck?
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Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - February 13, 2017.

Train wreckNo one can deny the importance of BC societies to communities large and small throughout the province, assisting all kinds of people as charitable and not for profit societies, including associations that represent occupations and professions.

What can we learn from the early example of transition by the Doctors of BC, the BC Medical Association, formerly a Reporting Society, declaring themselves to be a member-funded society and escaping public disclosure. Do they even meet the required criteria?

When we ask, it may come as a shock to learn the BC Registry is not confirming compliance requirements are met. Is the BC Government failing to provide proper leadership and oversight to the tasks of government?

Is the public trust being neglected? Will there be havoc on public interest and individual rights? Are we going to see a train wreck?

Viscose rayon and health effects on workers during manufacturing
Public

 Fake Silk by Paul BlancPaul Blanc, University of California professor of medicine, chair of occupational and environmental medicine and author of the book "Fake Silk - The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon" has written about the dangers and health effects to workers in the manufacturing of these materials.

In a recent radio interview on CBC The Current he talks of the dangers and medical effects of exposure to carbon disulfide used in the manufacturing process and the diversity of products. He speaks of places where there are better working conditions and worker safeguards while there are other places where this is not so.

The toxic effects of carbon disulfide are dramatic and onset early. It easily travels into brain tissue and causes insanity along with other medical problems.

Opinion: B.C. doctors have been kept in the dark about Doctors of BC bylaw amendments
Public

Dr Caroline Wang, Vancouver BC. January 18, 2017.

Doctors of BC members are being encouraged by the association’s leadership to vote in favour of proposed bylaw amendments to relinquish their democratic right to elect the board of directors. If passed, the new policies and governance structure would, in effect, disenfranchise the approximately 12,000 physician members as the owners of the sole representative association for the medical profession in B.C.

Most worrisome, the majority of doctors appear to be unaware of the profound implications and risks of the proposed changes that would impact physicians, patients and the health-care system. It’s little wonder that the vast majority of doctors, who are interested in practising medicine and not trained in matters of policy governance, would choose to ignore the governance referendum as irrelevant to their practice. They don’t know what they don’t know.

Cannabis, marijuana, what do we know?
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Chemurgy2016-10-16 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Cannabis is a plant that has been part of human history for thousands of years and on every continent. The uses of cannabis are far beyond just medical and recreational use.

Legalizing cannabis with regulations and taxation may simply perpetuate a narrow view rather than create greater openness, understanding and economic growth.

The Canadian Medical Association 2016 survey showed that almost 40% (39.7%) of doctors agreed or strongly agreed that people should be allowed to grow their own plants, another 22.7% didn't know, and less than 40% (37.6%) of doctors disagreed or strongly disagreed.

What will be the recommendations of the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation? Chaired by Anne McLellan, former deputy prime minister under Paul Martin and former health and justice minister.

What will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal Liberal party, and the Government of Canada decide to do?

What do we really know about cannabis?

Is cannabis more than just good for medical and health use, is it also good for the economy and the environment?

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