Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tories and Google Health

More on the Conservative plans for medical records:
Individuals would share their notes with private hospitals and patient support groups, under the plans which would also involve the scrapping of the centralised database system currently being introduced in the health service, which has been dogged by problems and delays.

Under the Conservative scheme, patients would be able to annotate their official records, alerting family doctors and hospitals to side-effects they had suffered as a result of taking medication, or medical symptoms which had gone undetected.

The Tories will consult on more radical measures such as whether patients should be given the right to "edit" their own records, deleting information with which they disagreed. In such instances, NHS doctors might still be given access to the unedited version, it suggests.

The Tories need to be careful that they don't simply replace an inefficient, blundering, expensive public monopoly NHS database with a much more efficient private monopoly system that could be even more dangerous for patient privacy.

2 comments:

yorickwilks said...

I always worry that this "patient privacy" thing is overdone--we are all now used to "Facebook Privacy"--I can only see your Facebook entry if you let me. isnt that enough? It seems to work OK.

Ian Brown said...

Medical records usually contain much more sensitive information than Facebook profiles, with greater impact of disclosure.

And, by default, far more people than your Facebook "friends" can see your profile. Including everyone in your school/work networks, and until recently geographic networks that in cases like London included millions of individuals. Plus the authors of all third-party applications you run. And those at Facebook with authorised access; those willing to bribe them; and those able to break in. And (esp. pertinent to medical records) those given legal rights of access, which is much more easily done on a large scale with centralised than distributed and carefully controlled databases.