Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Health Vault vs HIPAA

Have you ever attempted to get information about even your own health or medical history? It is easier for spammers to access private health information than it is for an individual to get at their OWN medical information. And I’m sure any insurance company can find what they want about us even without leaks from ChoicePoint or the VA Health system.

I was intrigued by a possible solution by Microsoft, which says Health Vault " the hub of a network of Web sites, personal health devices and other services that you can use to help manage your health. HealthVault lets you store the information in one central place on the Web. You're in control of what information you store and can decide who else can see, change, or help manage it. HealthVault never lets other Web sites or programs see or change the information in your HealthVault record without explicit permission from you or a record custodian invited to share your records.”

Of course, even though no one can be sure anything is secure on the web, the same can be said for archaic records management systems that delay or prohibit helpful transfer of information to the body in question: The person who should be the owner of the health information.
This seems a bit like the centralized health information systems that some larger group practices use. And it is a timesaver and immensely helpful when a specialist in a group can immediately see the notes the GP or another specialist has entered in the patient’s file.

I have had heard of many frustrating experiences of people trying to get much needed medical records for others when they have the authorization to do so. They run into the HIPAA Wall at hospitals and doctors’ offices and have even been told they cannot access even their own records without nonsensical paperwork because of HIPAA.
Here’s what I think about HIPAA. It makes it impossible or at least very difficult for someone to access his or her own medical information while at the same time, people who shouldn’t be able to get at it, probably can.

Maybe Health Vault or something like it could be a step to a solution.

Copyright 2008 Kathryn Fallon klaatukafe

1 comment:

Egggman9 said...

I work for a supermarket chain that has pharmacies in most stores and I know from observation and personal experience that even with all of the regulations in place anyone can walk in and ask to pick up a prescription for somebody and they will be handed it as long as they sign their name to a tag on a HIPPA sheet. No ID is checked, no confirmation is requested to prove that they are an agent for the person whose prescription it is. The HIPPA wall may be thick in many parts but it is definitely thin at the area of the end product.