Have you noticed how many cameras have been installed on stoplights?  And not just at busy intersections.  Everywhere.  The intersection without a spy camera is the exception, it seems.  What are these cameras for?  Are we supposed to feel better because “big brother is watching?”  Are these cameras there for our safety?  Fans of the police state would say “there’s no harm in just collecting data, is there?” “No harm in just watching.”

This is how I would recommend you look at the prevalence of electronic medical records.  Your health information, once digitalized, is not secure.  Why is the federal government actually paying physicians to convert their medical record systems to EMR?  And punishing them with lower Medicare payments if they don’t! There’s no harm in collecting this information in this sharable way, is there?  There’s no harm in sharing this with Uncle Sam, is there?  Don’t think this will be used as a rationing tool?  Really? 

Government at the state and federal level claims that none of the medical privacy laws apply to them.  I think they want our health information and they want it very badly so that they can “allocate scarce health resources in the most efficient manner.”  There’s always some government creep that thinks he/she can do this better than the market. This EMR craze is very troubling stuff and I would encourage you to be very careful with your health information.  Your medical records are your business and your physician’s business only.  Transforming this information into an electronic database is the first step toward begging someone in our wonderful government to do something about whatever inequities they think they have found.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.