December 22nd, 2007
Privacy of personal information is one of our basic right.But,over the past several years,Internet has redefined privacy.In todays world of Facebook and Myspace and internet search engines,privacy is non-existent.
In practice of Medicine,privacy of patient related information plays an extremely important role.However as patients now search for health related information actively on the web as “Healthsumer”,definition of privacy needs to be readdressed.
Many groups openly advocate for more privacy controls especially when it is related to health information.
Are these concerns overstated,in a recent blog entry,Dr John Hamalka CIO of Harvard medical school reveled his entire personal medical data,that is a very brave and bold step.Although it is not recommended that all consumers reveal their personal data relating to health,yet obession with privacy of personal health record and raising concerns of going online is sometimes overstated.
Paper based records have been around for many years,yet they are not bullet-proofed for privacy.In a recent news article about medical records in garbage bins,raise issues about future of paper based records whether they are really secure?
On the other end of the spectrum,can digital storage of data be safe,yes and no.It depends on where the data is stored and how.In another news article- a computer hard drive containing sensitive patient information from a trust hospital was sold on the auction site eBay.
Across the Atlantic the same issue was raised in a study-the researchers randomly purchased 60 used disk drives from dealers in several provinces across Canada.They were able to retrieve health related data from 65 per cent of them.
Does this mean there is no fool-proof method of storing health related data?
December 20th, 2007
is a common security framework group overseeing Electronic Health Record management.Their stated goal is to :
- Reduce confusion by implementing a single framework across multiple organizations
- Increase confidence by consumers, regulators and legislators in the industry’s ability to address these issues and to proactively protect sensitive information and healthcare systems
- Establish a single standard for organizations for internal and external measurement
- Reduce the number and complexity of security audits or reviews that organizations impose upon their trading partners
They plan to enroll around 155 members by the end of Feb 2008 in order to implement their framework.One of the major concerns is that this group currently involves only Major health care service providers,no small HIT vendors or hospital networks are part of this core group. it is comprised of only large health corporations like CVS Caremark, Cisco Systems, GE Healthcare, Highmark Inc., Hospital Corporation of America, Humana, Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems Inc., Philips Healthcare and Pitney Bowes.
The Questions raised across blogs is Can a few companies implement a standard for security in a major domain like Health without involvement of all stakeholders?
Will it succeed? and what about Personal Health Records?
December 19th, 2007
Internet is considered to be one of the killer apps of this century just as computers where of last century.The rapid growth of Internet has made it possible today to get information about anything and everything at your finger tip.It has also leveled the world,in that you can have real time information about what is happening across the world at flick of your mouse button.
Search engines have played an significant role in rapid growth of internet as they offered us windows to wide wide world of Internet.But, in the world of medicine,there is still a large lacuna in management of information.although among all the other industrial sectors,
medicine is considered to be information intensive industry.Health Information Technologies can play a significant role as Information is considered mission critical in health care.
What could be the next killer app in health care industry?
As Computers played an important role in dissemination of information via digital format,the same could work with world of medicine.But,the cost of these computers are the rate limiting steps in widespread deployment in medical industry.
Now can low cost Laptop which was introduced recently as one laptop per child project play a Key role?
Low cost laptops without hard drive connected onto network with free operating system can play an important role in digitalization of medical data.
In future,clinicians can use these computers in their hospitals and medical centers to offer an complete digital format of medical data then the curre paper based system.
What are the barriers ?