Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Patient Health Records and HIPAA

The Obama administration is all for electronic health records. Here's a Federal Computer Week article on the topic. It makes sense to me--I'm in Kaiser Permanente which does have its own system, which is much better than the records systems I've run into in my contacts with non-Kaiser setups. (Though that may change when I'm hospitalized.)

One of the aspects I haven't seen discussed is the issue of the caregiver. We're all getting older and we are caring for relatives who are even older and possibly more senile. But under HIPAA, access to someone else's records is severely limited. Essentially, even if you're next of kin you need a health care proxy to access records, including on-line records. I wonder how well computerized systems will handle that issue, because they tend to be designed and built with the idea of the patient handling his/her own data. And the problem is, even the best of us, like me, shy away from either executing his own health care proxy or asking older relatives for theirs. Just one more thing to worry about, and procrastinate on.

No comments: