Monday, October 12, 2009

The Media Starts to Figure it Out - Will the Government Soon Follow?

From Anna Paperny of the Globe and Mail

Efforts by governments in Ontario and British Columbia to drag their provinces' medical records into the 21st century haven't gone well: Both provinces are embroiled in eHealth scandals that have turned the endeavour into a political poison pill.

But the doctors behind two made-in-Canada electronic record systems designed years ago and adopted around the world insist it doesn't have to be this hard.

OSCAR, an open-source software pioneered by McMaster University's school of medicine, is being used by hundreds of doctors from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia, and many more from outside the country.

It puts patients' information on secure servers that are based in a doctor's office but can be accessed online from just about anywhere by logging on the same way one would to an online bank account. A separate sister system, MyOSCAR, lets patients access their own records online.

Clearly the discussion coming from the eHealth scandal is creating a conversation on what we want as a society, and whether or not we should allow the powers at be to decide what is right for us.

It is time for us to start thinking about this issue.

Who owns your medical information? Who do you want to maintain the stewardship of this, the most personal of your personal information? Would you like it to be kept, as it is today, in the private offices of your family doctor, or do you prefer that this information is keep in a large government run registry?

The security community is pretty clear on how it feels about governments maintaining large databases of their population's personal information ("1984" anyone?), but this isn't a decision that should be made by the security community.

Currently, you own your own personal information. Most people currently trust their family doctor to maintain their medical information on their behalf. Would you like this to change? It is your choice on how this story ends.

No comments: