Medical privacy concerns in the UK

From the Guardian (Family doctors to shun national database of patients’ records):

Nearly two-thirds of family doctors are poised to boycott the  government’s scheme to put the medical records of 50 million NHS patients on a  national electronic database, a Guardian poll reveals today.

With suspicion rife across the profession that sensitive personal data  could be stolen by hackers and blackmailers, the poll found 59% of GPs in  England are unwilling to upload any record without the patient’s specific consent.

After a Guardian campaign last year ministers conceded that patients would  have the right to stop their medical files being passed from the GP to an NHS  data warehouse known as the Spine.

But they said everyone not exercising this veto would be assumed to have  given “implied consent”.

An alternative model, which might prove more acceptable, would keep the record fragmented among providers but with a central index so that a full record could be pulled together on the fly, much as the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative is doing. An individual could also keep a fully copy of his/her record on his computer, though of course that could also prove vulnerable.

Thanks to Mickey.

November 20, 2007

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