Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another RHIO closes

Record-sharing stalls
• Cash, privacy issues halt effort to electronically link patient information

Another RHIO unplugged! Same old reasons we hear, privacy and cost. What gets me is that they spent $500,000 in funding without even deploying any infrastructure. All this just to shut it down.

I found this comment interesting:
"Pettit said she has been working toward a local health information exchange since 2003, but she felt the business council’s plan, which would sometimes allow hospitals and physicians to exchange patient health records without the permission of the patient, did not adequately protect patient privacy."

I don't understand the so called privacy concerns. Patient data is already being passed around without explicit patient permission using the fax machine. Doctors and hospitals do this all the time. The fax machine is far less safe from a privacy standpoint than doing this electronically. Fax machines tend to sit in busy places in the office. Even the cleaning staff can see all the patient reports coming off the fax machine.

If one is really concerned about privacy, get rid of the fax method of sharing and do it electronically with proper security protocols. I think the real crime is that we are still using fax machines to pass around confidential patient data.

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