Is it All Really Confidential?

Is it All Really Confidential?

Is it All Really Confidential?

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Did you know that your health data is more valuable than you are?

We are not talking about your demographics; such as: name, date of birth, social security number, insurance number, home address, etc. We are referring to your personal health data. What are your symptoms? What is your diagnosis? What was your treatment? How many medications do you take? Did you have any side effects? How long did you stay in the hospital? How many doctor’s visits did you have in the past 6-12 months? How much does it cost to treat you? This is what truly matters to insurers, hospitals, medical researchers and the government. All of this information is being gathered via electronic medical records and through your social media use. Google searches, Twitter, and Facebook posts are constantly being analyzed for trends. For instance, it was widely reported in the national news last winter that Google searches were used to help track the spread of the flu.

We all know that computers are great at analyzing vast sums of data. Your medical data is no different. Since most of your data is now computerized, rather than on paper, it is easier than ever before to use your data for analysis. While your personal identification is removed from the data, your health problems and subsequent treatment are a valuable commodity. This is both good and bad. Obviously it is bad because it feels like big brother is infringing on your private healthcare decisions. This is true. You cannot hide the fact that your data is being used for more than just your personal healthcare. Your data is being pooled with other patients from around the country who meet similar characteristics to establish treatment protocols. Your treatment is then be compared against this protocol to see if your treatment plan ‘fits’ within the expected normal. Your data is also being used to help determine if your healthcare provider meets certain governmental benchmarks for reimbursement and quality of care.

As  stated above, this is not all bad. Hospitals are able to identify and track infections and medical and surgical complications much easier (and possibly earlier) with this data. Pooling of large data can also lead to the discovery of previously unknown prescription drug interactions, prescription drug side effects, procedural complications, and potential treatments for rare diseases. By pooling a large sum of data from multiple sources, researchers are now able to gather much more information than would otherwise be available; especially for rare diseases and experimental treatments. An example of this are the recent infections noted from a specific kind of endoscopy. Analysis of the data revealed that it was more than just a random event, leading to the recall and withdrawal of the offending duodenoscope from the market. Pooling of data also assists in maintaining general public health. For example, during a disease epidemic (such as the flu) researchers are able to track the spread/containment and treatment of the disease, potentially saving lives. Large data also facilitates medical research. By analyzing the data, researchers can determine the how often a specific disease occurs and how many people have it (incidence and prevalence), side effects of treatment, efficacy of treatment and other variables. This will help them to design better and more specific studies, potentially accelerating a new treatment or likewise preventing a harmful treatment from reaching the market.

As you can see, there is a trade off. We can completely understand not wanting anyone else to have their eyes on your data. Unfortunately, outside of paying cash for your medical care, we do not know of any way to prevent your data from being completely sealed off from any kind of analysis. While you may object to your data being used, consider that the use of your health information can bring great value to the field of medicine when pooled with the data of other patients. This can not only lead to the discovery of new cures, but can also increase patient safety. Who knows, someday the results may even wind up helping you or someone you know and love.

Citations

  • Gill R, Borycki EM. The Use of Case Studies in Systems Implementations Within Health Care Settings: A Scoping Review. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;234:142-149. PubMed PMID: 28186031

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 
The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
Please note all articles, blogs and Q&A’s on this site are general information and are not to be used as medical advice for individuals. No specific diagnosis or treatment should be made based on this information. Only a physician can provide you with advice specific to your situation. Please followup with your physician if you would like to discuss your individual condition.

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