Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mayo Clinic and Microsoft are teaming up to allow folks to put their medical record on line into a huge electronic medical database. This means that my medical information can follow me around from one doctor to another and the physician will have ready access to all my previous medical information. Hopefully, this will improve communication and provide precise medical data to physicians. It may even prevent duplication of unnecessary testing and save dollars for the healthcare system. I have found that doctors don’t always care about communicating with other doctors and this readily available electronic medical record will further eliminate the need for the doctor to communicate to his colleagues. Doctors don’t even like to communicate with their patients, so this will make them more happy.

The only down side to the electronic medical record is the vulnerability to security. It may be accessible to all the teenage hackers in the country who can sell the information to interested parties like lawyers, insurance companies, employers and a host of others who might profit from knowing about your ill health. A spouse may even pay to see if their partner has been treated for a venereal disease or the like. There is a lot of medical information on the internet and some is great but much is misleading and wrong. There is always the possibility of an error in the medical record that could be amplified in the widely available medical record. Mark Twain warned of reading about medical treatments because you could die of a misprint.

This national electronic record database is also a great step in national healthcare. When we have national health insurance for everyone this will make the record universal and the ideal means of keeping records on all of our citizens. Big brother will indeed be watching us. It will be easier to find out if folks are taking drugs to enhance their muscles or medicines to improve their sexual performance.

All this will be fun reading for the hacker. They can just go on line and find out how bad Patrick Swayze’s pancreatic cancer is and what treatment he is receiving. We can find out about Elizabeth Taylor’s latest operation and Dolly Parton’s latest plastic surgery procedure. All this information may put the National Enquirer out of business.

Since I’m confined to the porch, and no longer working, I won’t be privileged to have ready access to all this juicy information. I may get my teenage grandkids to teach me how to hack into some of this stuff so I can keep up with my favorite movies stars, friends, relatives and others I want to be nosy about.


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