My wife just came home from work (as an R.N.) with a sheaf of papers containing guidelines about
the information that MUST now be maintained electronically for each patient they see (Meaningful Use Measures, they're called). They have to track and electronically record, for each patient seen, information including: current and previous medications, smoking history (for everyone over age 13), patient demographics (race, ethnicity, preferred language), up-to-date list of current diagnoses, allergy list...and much, much more. All of this personal medical information will now be maintained electronically and available to the government.
So the federal government will now know your height, weight, smoking status, medications you're on or have tried, diseases you've had and how you've been treated for them, just about every medical fact about you.
I don't know how others feel about that, and maybe I'm paranoid, but the possible mis-uses of that information are scary. (e.g.,"We see you smoked until you were 27 years old....so, we're not going to cover your treatment for emphysema). Or, "We've received your application for that government job, but our records show you've had gonorrhea and chlamydia, so......."
Heretofore, access to these types of information has been severely limited. Now it will be readily and entirely available to the government..and possibly to hackers as well. Insurance companies and Medicare have always been able to spot check records, but this is every single record now available to the government. Paper records may have had their limitations, but at least they were easy to safeguard and to protect privacy. We have guys on the forum who haven't told close relatives about their prostate cancer.
A good thing? You decide.
Post Edited (clocknut) : 8/2/2012 8:07:10 AM (GMT-6)