Today’s Boston Globe reports Beth Israel halts sending insurance data to Google. I commented:


I’m the patient in question. In her original piece 4/13, Globe writer Lisa Wangsness did a terrific job of accurately capturing both the details of this complex story and what it signifies, which could easily have been misconstrued. Indeed many bloggers did misconstrue it, shifting the focus away from the key lessons. I urge anyone to read my original story about what actually happened, and Lisa’s original story.

I want to extend one thing, though: they’re no longer sending billing data to *anyone*, including Microsoft HealthVault.

One thing’s become clear to me this week, from things others have written to me: what we discovered in this exercise has only scratched the surface.

DO NOT BLAME THIS ON BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS. It’s systemic, it’s everywhere. I work with data in my day job, and I can tell, the entire healthcare culture lacks the kinds of strictly enforced data quality processes that exist in other industries.

Any system will naturally accumulate garbage data unless there are strict controls on who gets to change what, and a history of who DID change what. And from what EVERYONE has been telling me, medical records systems today lack those controls. So we have a clean-up task ahead of us and we just need to get started.

There may be exceptions (please share them with me!) but my baseline assumption is that every shred of information in our online records needs to be verified before we can use it going forward. It’d cost WAY too much for any hospital to do that, but you can. And you better, or your record might show (as mine did) that I’m a woman with migraines who had a stroke in the past.

Yes, my record contains (or contained) statements of all those things. My record is 98% accurate, but it also says all those things.

What’s in YOUR wallet, medically speaking?


A lot of people are saying a lot of things about this subject. Let me make clear, I personally have only one agenda: to empower, equip and enable engaged patients to get control of, and be responsible for, their medical records.

That is a fundamental part of playing an active role in participatory medicine.

p.s. A request: if you agree with my comment, please go click the RECOMMEND link. And/or, add a comment of your own. (Participate!)

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