Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

Summary: How can smartphone technology do its wonders for medicine if lawyers obsessed with privacy are standing in the way?


David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health IT, told a conference in Washington on Friday that public attitudes on privacy are one of the main barriers to health IT.

The American people "need to be convinced" that their private health matters will remain private, he told a panel hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform.

Blumenthal was responding to case studies presented on Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand, all of which have better health IT infrastructure than the U.S.

The solution offered by Tom Bowden, who presented New Zealand's case, was that all stakeholders be involved in the development of solutions, not just a few.

In the U.S. solutions are generally offered by private companies, and implementation is being driven by the government's stimulus cash.

Asked later about the possibilities of social networking in relation to health problems, Blumenthal called automation of records a pre-condition for that.

Even as Blumenthal spoke, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla was re-tweeting the TED Talk of Eric Topol (above), who touted the possibilities of smartphones for collecting medical data. People can monitor their vital signs on a smartphone and will be able to collect that data with the same technology.

But how can they if privacy is creating such barriers to implementation that no one can move anything for fear someone may be overhearing it?

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Health, Legal

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  • RE: Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

    Confidentiality has become more and more important in modern health care. People are right to fear that private entities (among them insurance companies) would be either incompetent at protecting our personal information, or even have a strong incentive to violate privacy whenever it suited their bottom line.
    • RE: Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

      @preilly2@... I have said this before, but the answer is to eliminate the incentive for insurers or employers to pry. Mandatory issuance is a good first step in that direction, but insurers still have too much pricing power, so they retain that incentive to get your data.

      Of course, if you have read this blog you should know it doesn't matter. Ingenix is selling the whole software suite doctors and others need to do business, and they're owned by UnitedHealth. Ingenix insists they are separate entities, but I don't believe it.
  • Who really believes we have health data privacy?

    Health insurance companies have mountains of data on everyone they cover - we've signed away many privacy rights to them when we accept their policies.

    And it's a bit odd that people can call for privacy, but if they end up in an emergency room somewhere they will want who ever is treating them to know some basic information - that bit that is needed to keep them alive.
    • RE: Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

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  • Data will eventually save lives and improve healthcare

    The biggest barrier we face in the emergence of <a href="
    ">electronic health records</a>(EHR) is the fear people have of their information being somewhere out there for all to see. A web-based EHR needs to take the proper precautions to remain HIPPA complaint. Protected health information must be de-identified and anonymous. With these measures, data can be used to improve care, estimate the costs of care and support public health initiatives.

    -Shea S.
    Jr. Social Media Specialist
    Practice Fusion EHRs
  • Public needs individual instruction on pros and cons first

    I still run into ordinary people (not I.S. or Healthcare types) on a daily basis who have no concept of what the advantages and disadvantages are between publically accessible, health care restricted access, insurance restricted access, and personal access only options for their health data.

    The ideal from a personal level would be for an implanted or worn (like dog tags or bracelet) data repository to contain everything that ever happened to you and was done to you in the way of healthcare that could be accessed only by you or the on-scene care provider. Anyone else would have to contact you and request you upload to them the information they needed.

    The personal ideal doesn't do anything for
    insurance though; and it's extremely unsatisfactory for doctors, therapists, nurses, billing and insurance agencies. They all want a globally accessible, national/world-wide database that had all your data instantly accessible for their work.

    In either scenario, the database needs to be designed for all users, and interfaces designed for each user's specific needs. Merely uploading .pdf, .jpg, or .doc files to a password protected file transfer service is NOT an on-line health care record - it's a virtually useless pile of data, not information.

    A public healthcare record needs to have a zero detrimental attribution quality. In order to work, insurance companies, businesses, employers, and the government especially, would not be able to take any detrimental action (real or implied) against the person. No denial of benefits, no out of the ordinary premiums, no non-selection for employment or loss of promotions or terminations. And no detrimental consequences for identity theft cases where the person takes due precautions.

    While businesses of all kinds will scream that they can't operate under those conditions, they are wrong. They can operate that way, and with very little increase in costs of doing business. That is the equitable trade off for people to grant this kind of massive invasion of their right to privacy.

    And there are some who won't agree to even those terms; if only because those organizations have proven themselves to be criminally unworthy of that access.
  • RE: Public attitudes remain a barrier to health IT

    I notice on Facebook many natural health doctors and even some MD's offering unregulated health advice. I've followed tips on something like proper technique for <a style="text-decoration: none; color: #333333;" href="">raja yoga</a> however when it comes to my health I go directly to a physician, not an online resource.