Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Up next on Fox News! Dr. John Halamka!

It's nice to have a luminary as your front man. Dr. John Halamka -- a founder, advisor, board member and friend to MAeHC -- was on Fox News (live!) yesterday discussing our North Adams project (click here to check it out).

The interview focused on privacy concerns, but of course it wouldn't be Fox News without equal parts sensationalism and distortion:

"A person's private health records are about to become public in one local city, North Adams, Massachusetts."

Just to set the record straight, we are NOT making health records public in North Adams. Let me rephrase this in case there's any confusion: We are NOT making health records public in North Adams. Or in Brockton. Or in Newburyport. Or in any other community that MAeHC sponsors.

What we are doing is launching a health information exchange that will allow medical staff, with patient permission, to exchange health information for treatment purposes and for the improvement of care. This exchange will occur over a private, encrypted network that can only be accessed by authorized medical staff users.

Anyway, as expected, John handled the interview beautifully. Gave the issue the appropriate balance, described the security measures we're putting in place, stressed that patients will choose whether to participate, and finally, crisply explained why a patient might want to make that choice.

By the end he even had the interviewer admitting that it would be good to have health information available in this way. It was particularly impressive given that he was crammed in between stories on a student who wants to rent a girlfriend, and what's happening on American Idol.

Thank you, John, for so eloquently getting out the message on MAeHC's approach to patient privacy and health exchange. But next time, please try to get in before the girlfriend rental story....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought John was a finalist on American Idol -- I was so disappointed. :))

Oh well, we will have to just have him as an excellent ambassador for these other important initiatives.