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Privacy of Patient Records - Vancouver Sun Editorial

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The editorial in yesterday's Vancouver Sun shows that others are also concerned:

Questions about online medical records
The Vancouver Sun
Wed 10 May 2006
Page: A15
Section: Editorial
Byline: Gordon Greenhow
Column: Soundoff
Source: Special to the Sun

At first glance, the putting of your medical record online so that all health care professionals can access your medical history seems to be a good idea.

But before we embrace this idea, I have a few questions for the medical community:

What assurances would I have that only the medical professionals I have approved will have access to my records? Time has shown that hackers or unauthorized persons can access computer systems, retrieve or alter the information that is online, or sell the information to unauthorized persons.

Would insurance companies have access to my medical records and possibly use the information to deny me insurance policies or extended health benefits? Access would enable insurance companies to pick and choose only those individuals they deemed low risk for policies.

Would medical professionals be able to sell my medical history to research companies?

Would my complete medical record have to be online or can I choose to have only portions of it online as there maybe certain issues I have discussed with my medical professional that I do not want any other medical professional or other persons to access?

What computer system would be used for the storing and sharing of medical information? What ironclad assurances would be in place that my medical information would be secure and only be accessed by medical professionals of my choice?

Technology is a great tool that, when used properly and for the purpose it is designed for, can be of benefit to users. But until the aforementioned questions can be answered to my satisfaction, I will instruct the medical professionals of my choice not to enter any of my medical history into a shared computer system that others can access.

Gordon Greenhow lives in Victoria.


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