I want my health data with me

The debate on health records data is starting also in US with the new federal government plan to spend $19 billion to spur the use of computerized patient records.

In Milan, where I live, the regional health system requires me to carry around a digital ID card that allows for doctors and farmacists identify me. Until now I refused to activate it though, because I don’t trust digital technology and engineers enough.Β  I’m not comfortable with the system. Yesterday I learned that I have to activate that card now and all my health records will be stored on a remote super-secure system. The complex security will make sure that only the relevant data will be showed to the appropriate actors, from the farmacist to the specialist doctor.

What concerns me is that all the data will be stored in the same place and only some software logic will be in charge of filtering who can see what and when. That’s scary. I prefer having to carry around my past exams when I walk from doctor to doctor. Why are we being forced to surrender all our health data this way? Wouldn’t it be better if they agreed on a set of standard digital formats and gave all the details to me, to carry on an encrypted memory stick (for example)?Β  I will resist until I can.




  1. Recently, in the UK, there have many instances of data being lost, laptops left on trains, etc. The other day it was the loss of thousands of kid’s data. Does anyone think it won’t happen (isn’t already happening?) here, in Italy?

    There is no real security anywhere. Take the recent leak of the Wolverine film – and I bet the studios pay a lot for their security.

  2. Graziano: I think the EU parliament is already working on that. I think we’ll get there, given enough time.

    Andy: I agree with you, but I’d still be more comfortable holding the data with me. What concerns me most is delegating to a super-powerful-nearly-omnipotent governmental organization.