Thanks to Hospitals, Big Tech is Getting More and More of Your Medical Data

The picture above, and the following quote, come from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal:

Hospitals have granted Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Inc. the ability to access identifiable patient information under deals to crunch millions of health records, the latest examples of hospitals’ growing influence in the data economy.

We can trust them with your data, right?

“Responsible data stewardship is core to our mission,” an IBM spokeswoman said.

Almost spit out my coffee on that line.

But let’s not forget the hospitals’ role in this:

Hospitals can share patient data as long as they follow federal privacy laws, which contain limited consumer protections, she said. “The data belongs to whoever has it.”

Yeah, but they are doing it for the greater good, right? Nope.

Hospitals also stand to gain financially from some deals. Tech companies’ agreements with Providence, Mayo, and Brigham and Women’s include intellectual property rights for hospital contributions to new products.

How has this NOT been stopped?

Data that can identify patients—including name and Social Security number—can’t be shared unless such records are needed for treatment, payment or hospital operations. Deals with tech companies to develop apps and algorithms can fall under these broad umbrellas. Hospitals aren’t required to notify patients of specific deals.

This is an abomination.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]

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3 Responses

  1. D. Mittman says:

    We actually, honestly and totally agree.

  2. Pat says:

    Physicians are now agents for third-party payers, patients are raw materials processed into earnings, and the concept of “individual” has lost all value in health care. Here’s the population health that the pathetic AAFP et al are always bleating about, the great dream of the academics who like to control masses from on high. It’s conceivable that Big Health would lobby our benevolent government into allowing it to demand a 23 & Me scan for everyone, that could then “clarify and classify” (gratuitous ‘Nena’ reference) and up drone’s premium payments, or deny them partial services, accordingly. Anything that can be done for the official definition of the Greater Good should be done, and we have the Communist Chinese model coming on fast to show us the way.

    This is all sad, and now inevitable.

  3. R Stuart says:

    Any physician who doesn’t yet understand that this was the sole purpose of the switch to EMRs is beyond help.

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