Digital Health Records: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Make no mistake about it. Like it or not, digital health records will soon be the norm. There’s just no stopping technology.
Digital health records are a good thing.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a new doctor’s office or emergency room, filling out paperwork and racking your brain to recall medications, dates, and test results, you understand the reasons behind the push for digital records. At the very least, it’s time consuming, costly, and an added aggravation at the worst possible time. At most, digital records, almost instantly available to physicians and hospitals, will cut down on medical errors and save human lives.
Our current convoluted system makes the gathering of time-sensitive information near impossible. Use of digital technology is the logical thing to do.
Digital health records are a bad thing.
Your medical history is an open book for every medical provider along the way–for life–the same reason it’s a good thing. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
The ugly truth is, whether health records are privately kept, government controlled, or a combination of both, privacy simply cannot be guaranteed. Period.
There are those entrusted with our privacy who will sell us out for profit. Access to medical records could provide valuable information for the unscrupulous among us. And then there are the hackers. Very intelligent and very motivated hackers who will work day and night to crack a code. They’ve done it with our credit histories, social security cards, bank information, and our very identities. They will do it with medical records.
There’s a lot to be gained by going digital but there’s no doubt that we risk our privacy, with potentially devastating consequences. We can no more stop digital health records than we can stop using our credit cards, banks, and identities.