'

Today's Debate: Will patients opt-out of shared health records?

In response to concerns of the newspaper, the NHS allowed up to 500,000 people in Bolton, Bury, Dorset and south Birmingham the chance to opt-out of record sharing. Fewer than 1% sought the opt-out.

Brave New World detail from Brainstorm-Services.ComThe Guardian in England reports today that the country's National Health Service has begun trialing Connecting for Health, that country's planned medical records database.

In response to concerns of the newspaper, the NHS allowed up to 500,000 people in Bolton, Bury, Dorset and south Birmingham the chance to opt-out of record sharing.

Fewer than 1% sought the opt-out.

In its blog post about this, The Guardian continues beating the drum on the dangers of electronic health records. "Are we witnessing an early tentative step towards an Orwellian state?" the newspaper asks breathlessly.

Now it may be that Brits trust their government more than Americans. The NHS has served as the country's primary health care system for 60 years. But many who write here about this issue say that people will gladly trade their privacy for trivial things -- a discount, a shiny gift, a contest entry.

So is it time to put our concerns away and embrace the brave new world of health databases? (Picture from Brainstorm-Services.com.)