Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Is Anyone Thinking About The Privacy Implications Of All This Information Sharing On An Automatic And Routine Basis?
A couple of articles popped up this week that made me ask just what was going on. First we had this:
28 June 2017
NSW will inject more than half a billion dollars in digital systems to bring patient health records, medications management and the sharing of pathology results into the 21st century.
NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the $536 million outlay over eight years reflected the position of e-health as the “most important revolution in healthcare”, adding the investment would lift efficiency.
Specific spending items include $236 million for digital patient records, to ensure patient records are easy to read, instantly accessible and accurate, and to extend the state’s electronic medications management (eMeds) program. The full roll-out of eMeds would bring a significant advance in medications management to assure patient safety, eHealth NSW CEO and CIO Zoran Bolevich told The Medical Republic.
“We’ll move from 13 hospitals with 4,500 beds now live with eMeds to 178 hospitals with almost 22,000 beds,” he said.
In another key initiative, NSW will extend its lead in digitising pathology test results so they can be accessed by clinicians anywhere in the state’s public health system and shared to the national My Health Record.
“In April, NSW became the first state or territory to feed public-hospital pathology results into My Health Record,” Mr Bolevich said.
“The new funds in the latest NSW budget will complete integration of the four NSW Pathology Hubs to our HealtheNet Clinical Repository, enabling clinicians to view pathology results quickly and easily state-wide.”
As most clinical decisions hinged on the outcomes of pathology results, quick and easy digital access to them across the public health system was important, Mr Bolevich said.
The results are also passed on from the state’s HealtheNet repository to the national MyHR for the benefit of community clinicians and patients.
On the surface all this seems wonderful but I wonder do all those people who have tests feel happy if they are sent all over NSW and also to the myHR without any real informed consent. Those urine results that found an STD etc. Are they fair game for sending all over the place.
Then I noticed this:
Sigma Healthcare has partnered with SmartHealth to roll-out the service, which began on Monday 26 June, utilising their network of 1,500 accredited participating collection centres and laboratories throughout Australia.
Allowing people to access valid pathology testing through pharmacies will allow those not visiting their doctors to be screened for common chronic health issues, says Dr Michael Harrison, President of the RCPA.
“These are limited mainstream tests, mainly for detecting cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, for people who – for whatever reason – are not getting testing done through the usual system.
“It’s hard to know why, but some people don’t see their GP for testing, they don’t visit their GP very often or, if they do, the GPs don’t order these tests,” he tells AJP.
Dr Harrison says identifying high cholesterol levels and other markers can help to arrest the development of serious but common health issues such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Since the tests will be sent to a laboratory the results will be scientifically valid, a process Dr Harrison says is much more accurate than point-of-care tests, particularly regarding cholesterol screening.
The results will be placed on the patient’s My Health Record for healthcare practitioners to access.
Any abnormal results will prompt pharmacists to refer the patient to a doctor, and in the case of very abnormal results, these will be passed along to a GP enlisted in the program to help follow them up.
Lots more here:
As with the bold text in the first article we seem to be having rather splatter gun un-consented sharing of potentially sensitive information.
Forgetting about the rather worrying trend with pharmacists ordering all sorts of blood tests, I hope proper thought has been given regarding just who gets access to what and what information is to be shared.
There is the risk of all sorts of worrying mistakes here!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Wednesday, July 05, 2017