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Privacy is not as important as being correct

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  • Privacy is not as important as being correct

    I saw this in this morning's news.

    University Health Network (Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret) had a mixup with 5 patients' electronic records.

    Test results for one patient got put onto a different patient's record, along with identifying information.

    The article seems to think the issue is one of privacy of health data, but IMO it's much more important one of health and safety. Doctors were seeing the wrong test results and making treatment decisions accordingly.

    The privacy of health data is important, but in my experience it's become the tail wagging the dog and one of the major obstacles to having an efficient provincial (or federal) electronic health record.

    http://www.iheartradio.ca/newstalk-1...ords-1.3352694
    Confusion will be my epitaph
    ...Iggy

  • #2
    I agree that the potential for mistreatment is far more serious than the privacy issue, though both are serious.

    But I'm not sure it's the article that is putting the wrong emphasis on it -- it seems to be the UHN that is using the "privacy breach" language. And I get why they would ... They'd do that precisely because you and I and most people see the privacy breach as the lesser of the two issues, and would rather we think of that bad thing than the even worse bad thing.

    On the other hand, the article never emphasizes the mistreatment risk, and allows the UHN focus on privacy to stand out.

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    • #3
      Have to agree, if I had to choose between privacy and getting the proper diagnosis, I would choose "being correct" 100% of the time. One shouldn't have to choose (I know that isn't your point) but IMO being correct is far more important.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pimento Cheese View Post
        I agree that the potential for mistreatment is far more serious than the privacy issue, though both are serious.

        .
        This .
        "Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened "

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        • #5
          Both are important really. This sort of thing could happen easily in the old days of paper files. Hopefully any Doc using the files would be looking at the patient info on any given document in the e-file.

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          • #6
            Both are certainly important.

            Here's a question:

            If you were in charge of budget for a health care organization, how would you allocate limited $$ between the two?

            Equally?
            More for accuracy than privacy?
            More for privacy than accuracy?

            Marty makes a good point that this also happened with paper records.
            Confusion will be my epitaph
            ...Iggy

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            • #7
              I wouldn’t be so prepared to assume that it’s an either/or proposition. If the hospital records keeping procedures are correctly set up, is there any reason to think that both the accuracy of patient records and their privacy couldn’t be assured?

              Originally posted by Ignatius Reilly View Post
              Both are certainly important.

              Here's a question:

              If you were in charge of budget for a health care organization, how would you allocate limited $$ between the two?

              Equally?
              More for accuracy than privacy?
              More for privacy than accuracy?

              Marty makes a good point that this also happened with paper records.
              This isn't a dress rehearsal. Enjoy yourself. There's no do-over.

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              • #8
                In the US . One(malpractice) can cost money. Whereas Privacy violations can get you huge fines and Time in the Pen. Doesn't Canada have a HIPAA law?
                Life is great, Family is wonderful, Friends are indispensable!
                Golf is fun, but it is NOT life.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mpare View Post
                  I wouldn’t be so prepared to assume that it’s an either/or proposition. If the hospital records keeping procedures are correctly set up, is there any reason to think that both the accuracy of patient records and their privacy couldn’t be assured?

                  As we creep slowly into Electronic Health Records and sharing of data between providers (family doc, specialists, hospitals, labs...) it becomes an IT budget issue. Systems cost money, money buys quality, less buys less, more buys more, money isn't limitless, nothing's ever perfect.

                  So... choices must and do get made.
                  Originally posted by dhacker56 View Post
                  In the US . One(malpractice) can cost money. Whereas Privacy violations can get you huge fines and Time in the Pen. Doesn't Canada have a HIPAA law?
                  Canada has PIPEDA and most provinces have their own law (PHIPA in Ontario).

                  Neither seems overly punitive. Last I looked, PHIPA has max penalties of $100k (individuals) or $500k (organizations). That's way less than HIPAA which goes to $1.5million, and those are USD!
                  Confusion will be my epitaph
                  ...Iggy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is mostly about securing info about mental issues a patient might have or under Psychiatric care. PTSD for instance might impact job security. You can't hide Aids or Ebola or Cirrhosis.
                    I could care less who knows I'm sick. I'd rather the surgeon knows I'm in for an appendectomy and not a spine adjustment.

                    electronic data input is dependent on the operator. Hard-copy(paper) is less likely to be fudged though in extreme cases it can be lost, but this is about reducing the costs associated with the physical handling.of a paper trail.

                    backup,backup,backup
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                    Last edited by bl8d; Oct 15, 2017, 10:32 AM.
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