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Google Health Open Platform Is Great — Or Awful 179

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-a-dialectic dept.
JackPowers writes "The Google Health APIs enable portable, standardized, open architecture, extensible personal health records, which is nice but boring if they're just used to manage the paperwork of the doctor/patient relationship. But once the data is set free, all kinds of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 apps are possible. This article looks ahead 10 years at Best Case Scenarios. A follow-up article lists the Worst Case Scenarios."
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Google Health Open Platform Is Great — Or Awful

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:29AM (#23682627)
    No private company should be so entrenched in society that it would be impossible to survive without the service they provide. If I can't get a job without a Google Health "badge", then something somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

    This is already a big problem with credit companies becoming so pervasive. It's also bad enough that private companies are leading the American military around by the nose. But that pales in comparison to the actual, direct, and personal limits imposed by something like the system the article is talking about.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:46AM (#23682815) Homepage
      It is already very wrong. many places pull your credit report for hiring. They throw away everyone below 680.

      Honestly this practice should be outlawed and companies that do so need to be fined heavily.

      also the fact taht your credit report is probably the MOST INNACURATE information you have on you and companies make decisions based on this horribly inaccurate data.

    • by qbzzt (11136)
      No private company should be so entrenched in society that it would be impossible to survive without the service they provide.

      Define impossible. My father in law doesn't have a credit rating. He lives in a rural area where most deals are done in cash. But he has to work harder and has a lower standard of living because of his choices.

      You have a right to compete in the job market. But you don't have a right for a job.
    • by niceone (992278) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:08PM (#23683169) Journal
      Yes, especially as in 10 years time it will probably still be Google Health beta.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Julie188 (991243)
      "But once the data is set free, all kinds of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 apps are possible." Newsflash ... it's not a bright idea to load up any of these online cloud databases with your personal medical records ... I mean, why the heck would I want to blab to Google (and hence, eventually the world) that I'm a herpes-infested schizophrenic ... no, you're not ... yes, I am ... no way! ... I told you to stop bothering me while I'm typing ...
    • by value_added (719364) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:47PM (#23683751)
      No private company should be so entrenched in society that it would be impossible to survive without the service they provide.

      An insightful comment if ever I read one, but I'm afraid you're a few generations late. As a society we gave up believing in government, institutions of power or authority, religeon, civic responsibility and most all notions of tradition, and adopted instead a belief in individuality and self-fullfilment. That doesn't leave us with much, does it?

      If the current trend continues and free market idealogues get to rule the day, we should expect to have everything from infrastructure to institutions ruled and run entirely by corporations (to the extent they don't already), and we'll all be working for Taco Bell or for The Brawndo Corporation.

      The situation can also be viewed political terms. A good portion of the electorate really does believe that government is evil, that government can't possibly do anything as efficiently or as cheaply as business, and that taxes infringe on their God given rights, but they're only too happy to let the Walmarts of the world take over provided they can maintain the illusion they've kept a few extra dollars in their own pockets.

      The people who complain about undue corporate influence on government probably don't notice that they've succumbed to those same influences in their own lives, but they might notice when there's nothing left to sell off, somebody else holds all the cards and those free-market choices they've been promised come up short.

      Google, I think, is doing what any business does, and that's fulfulling an unmet need and making or trying to make a profit in doing so. The question is why we're not doing it ourselves?
    • We already have HL7 [hl7.org]. Providers have the ability to exchange and consolidate your medical records directly and to provide electronic copies for the patient to physically retain to personally bring by sneakernet between their providers without the need for a proxy. The vast majority of people don't have that many medical providers, nor do they change them very often. It is neither necessary nor desirable to have a company like Google aggregate the records. Its only strength is in being the *only* repository,
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Central clearinghouses might be useful, a la the credit reporting agencies. When someone has records on you, they publish that fact without publishing the actual records.

        If you don't see this as a flaw in your plan, I don't know what to tell you.

        A lot of people go get mental health care and pay out of their own pocket so that it isn't 'in the system'. The same goes for various other types of treatments.

        Centralizing that information takes away control from us as individuals.


        • See: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa [hhs.gov]

          Centralizing that information takes away control from us as individuals.

          I specifically stated that your medical records themselves would not be centralized and that your consent to release would be required and would further fall under the clinical discretion of each of your medical providers.

          The only thing I was suggesting is that for emergency purposes, it would be possible to quickly locate records sources that you have explicitly authorized. Whether or not any particular
  • Awful? (Score:3, Funny)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:34AM (#23682671) Journal
    Considering that the site's about peoples' insides, shouldn't that be "offal"?
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:34AM (#23682677) Homepage
    Just what we need, more bullshit for buzzword fetishists.
    • Seriously.

      What, everyone gets bingo too fast on their Web 2.0 bingo cards [0bingo.com] so the next version of bingo cards needs new entries and thus is Web 3.0?
    • by Otter (3800) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:51AM (#23682891) Journal
      I'm just relieved to hear that Web 4.0 is more than 10 years away...
    • If I hear some MBA start saying this I'll either stab myself in the eye with a pen or just one-up him and tell him that Web 3.0 is garbage and we should really be working toward the Web 5.0 initiative. Either way, should be a good time.
    • by dhj (110274) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:57PM (#23683881)
      Web 3.0? F that. iWeb 2009 Enterprise Edition is just around the corner. It will make Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 look like buzzwords from the 1990s. The the major feature enhancements of iWeb 2009 Enterprise Edition are:

      A synergistic development model.
      Grassroots support.
      Enterprise level uptime and support (obviously).

      This technology promises to create a paradigm shift in the way we think about web services.
  • This is one of the most (potentially abused) systems I can forsee. I really don't think losing our privacy where medical records are concerned is going to help society. this just stinks. google should be ashamed.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:42AM (#23682767) Homepage

      This is one of the most (potentially abused) systems I can forsee. I really don't think losing our privacy where medical records are concerned is going to help society. this just stinks. google should be ashamed.

      Unless this is mandated by somebody or other, you're free to post or not post whatever you want on Google health.

      That's fine, but it does severely limit the usefulness of the product. As a physician, I'm not going to be inclined to spend much time looking at a highly edited version of somebody's medical history. There is a reason we ask for records from doctors or hospitals. It's far too easy to simply edit out the uncomfortable bits of your life. That of course, is perfectly within your rights, but my job is too look at the whole history, not bits and pieces.

      I don't see this as taking off much in the professional sector - it may be popular in the direct-to-consumer advertising space (which is why I cynically suspect it exists), but it's too limited to be much use professionally. Not useless, but very limited.

      The truly scary part is that the "10 worst" scenarios are much more likely to come true that the "10 best".

      • If you are indeed a physician, where are you? I ask because here in the US there is absolutely no wau any physician I've ever met would take the time to read my entire medical history, because there is no way an insurance company would pay them to do it.

        I've seen large parts of mine and most of seems worthless to me. Lots of redundancy, lots of unreadable scratching. Medications and treatments that didn't work but contain no follow up that would communicate that.

        And I'm not very old and I've been in relativ
        • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:24PM (#23683425)
          You're thinking that it takes a physician the same time to read through your history and pluck out the important stuff that it would take you, a complete amateur with nearly zero understanding of how medicine works.

          That's as logical as thinking that it would take Linus Torvalds as long to understand a kernel patch as J. Random User who's never coded a line in his life. Or that your car mechanic needs to carefully listen to every sound your jalopy makes to know whether it needs a valve job. Or that the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic would have to get out a tuning fork and go carefully around to listen to each of his 150 musicians to know whether the orchestra is playing in tune.
        • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:31PM (#23683539) Homepage

          If you are indeed a physician, where are you? I ask because here in the US there is absolutely no wau any physician I've ever met would take the time to read my entire medical history, because there is no way an insurance company would pay them to do it.

          I'm in Alaska, come up and visit. Bring your harpoon....

          "Taking the time to read your entire medical history" may or may not be particularly relevant. If you are young and healthy without significant ongoing issues, it may be perfectly unnecessary. I likely don't care about the details of your tonsilectomy at age 6 (I might, however, if you had a significant anesthetic reaction).

          But you bring up a good point that's generally obfuscated in these debates: You may not want every detail of a person's medical history at any given time. Sometimes you do. Having to wade through tons of extraneous detail makes it easy to miss important tidbits. Getting a 200 page printout from a 6 day hospitalization with everything including the janitor's notes doesn't help me much. Putting that in machine readable format helps me maybe a bit. What we don't have is an underlying, consistent framework for electronic medical records that's used by everyone and has the capability to organize a huge amount of information into a generally usable format.

          There are baby steps out there, but it's a huge chicken and egg problem for the field. I personally see the digitalization of medical records happening *very* slowly - over the next 20 years or so. And that's a feature, not a bug folks. There are absolutely huge societal issues to be dealt with before we give some uber-governmental department the holy grail of databases. I'd rather have the current fragmented system then allow every government and corporate entity start data mining for whatever purpose of the week they feel important (or profitable).

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by charlesj68 (1170655)

            I'm in Alaska, come up and visit. Bring your harpoon....
            I tried. TSA was not amused.
          • Alaska is great. I usually make a trip or 2 there every year to hunt.

            I can see how the fragmentation helps protect the data, but I'm not sure whether the benefits outweigh the risks. I'd like it if an ambulance crew could pull my records up in some protable terminal and see "Allergic to Sulfa" in a prominent position.

            As it is, if I forget or can't communicate that or whatever else, it would probably never be known because the last time I was given sulfa I was about 6 years old and I lived in Angola (Africa)
            • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @01:39PM (#23684469) Homepage

              I'd like it if an ambulance crew could pull my records up in some protable terminal and see "Allergic to Sulfa" in a prominent position.

              No ambulance in the world is going to give you an antibiotic. They're going to wait until they get to the ER and let the doc decide. Even if I, for some reason, decide that I'm giving you a drug you subsequently decide to have an anaphylactic reaction to it, well, that's why I have steroids and endotracheal tubes. If you're that sick we ask you the AMPLE history (Allergies, Medications, Past (Medical History), Last Meal, Event. If we can't get it out of you, well, then your likely sick enough to be run through some rather standardized stabilization protocols until we figure out just what you manage to do to yourself. Usually, it's readily apparent. If it's really complicated, it's likely that you are stable enough for the docs and staff to work through the problem bit by bit.

              Yes, rapid access to medical information can be important and very occasionally life saving (but likely not). But Google Health isn't going to work for this. If you are unfortunate to have a serious medical condition, a small laminated paper with your doctor's name, brief past history, medication and allergies and maybe an old EKG shrunk down would do wonders. Stick in in your wallet. We always check that looking for cash, checks and your insurance card....

          • I personally see the digitalization of medical records happening *very* slowly - over the next 20 years or so. And that's a feature, not a bug folks. There are absolutely huge societal issues to be dealt with before we give some uber-governmental department the holy grail of databases.

            Having a standard format and infrastructure for requesting and exchanging digital records doesn't mean having a single entity (government or otherwise) with access to all the data.

      • by sm62704 (957197)
        As a physician, I'm not going to be inclined to spend much time looking at a highly edited version of somebody's medical history

        And considering HIPPA, you would be in deep doo doo if you posted anyone's info (you know that, of course, but others here may not)

        What I would like for MY doctor to do would be to give me a CD of my medical records when I visit him. I'm 56, most of my medical records simply no longer exist. Like everyone else, doctors retire and records get lost.

        But I don't want it on Google. I wa
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:36AM (#23682695)

    Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 apps are possible


    Web 3.0? That's just silly.
  • Oh Hell (Score:5, Funny)

    by Target Practice (79470) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:37AM (#23682711)
    Web 3.0? What is that supposed to be? A LAMP application hooked up to a cage of weasels?
  • The ideas are cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oxy the moron (770724) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:38AM (#23682719)

    But that doesn't mean they're good. Diet monitoring? Try this [freshmeat.net], or any other free web service that does it *without* needing your medical history. Fitness Monitoring? Doesn't Wii Fit do this? How about a simple spreadsheet? Travel? Is it that hard to look at The Weather Channel [weather.com] before you leave?

    Honestly, this just sounds like candy-coating a terrible idea so that people will buy into it. None of the ideas on that page are lacking a non-Google implementation assuming you're not too lazy to do some footwork.

    Then again, if you are too lazy, maybe whatever ill effects you receive from using Google's service are deserved...

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:40AM (#23682747) Homepage Journal
    Well then, I'm happy - or sad for them.
  • worst case scenario? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:46AM (#23682823) Journal
    From the worst case scenarios:

    PUBLIC HEALTH

    Anonymized Google Health data is mined by Pleasantville public health officials to chart wellness patterns and develop health policy. Government commissions use the stats as the basis for regulating smoking, trans-fats, sugar and alcohol. Households with strong wellness metrics are eligible for tax rebates.
    Sounds like a good idea to me. People with unhealthy lifestyles cost communities and bigger units (states, federal govt) a lot of money in emergency services, medicare costs, etc. I welcome the idea that those with healthy lifestyles shouldn't be subsidizing those with unhealthy lifestyles. Plus, there is then an obvious economic incentive to become healthier.

    Seems like a win-win to me.
    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      You missed the part where they dispatch the T-888 to the guy who ate the hamburger.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I welcome the idea that those with healthy lifestyles shouldn't be subsidizing those with unhealthy lifestyles. Plus, there is then an obvious economic incentive to become healthier.

      Maybe I'm just naive, but it seems to me that the *only* way to prevent healthy people from having to subsidize unhealthy people is to (1) allow health care providers to refuse to treat unhealthy people, AND (2) make everybody pay for their own health care. Anything less than that will involve some hidden subsidization via taxes, etc. (Please note I'm not saying I think it should work that way, just that subsidization is always going to be part of health care).

      Also, sometimes bad health has nothing to do

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xaxa (988988)
      And from the best case scenarios:

      SCHOOL RECORDS
      The Turner Twins' immunization records are forwarded to their school each September. Throughout the year, their schoolmates' anonymized records are linked to the school to keep track of ear infections, strep throat, lice and sports injuries. Schools publish aggregate wellness data to attract new students, and education watchdogs lobby for funding based on overall student health indices.

      School funding based on how often the children get ill? No, thanks.

      INSURANCE
      Trader Ted shops for insurance by selectively releasing his Google Health record on-line. He pays for regular care through a Health Savings Account, but health insurance companies bid for his catastrophic coverage based on his authenticated medical history, diet and exercise records.

      No mention of what happens to someone with a disease though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I welcome the idea that those with healthy lifestyles shouldn't be subsidizing those with unhealthy lifestyles
      You should drop your health insurance then. Or at least get into an HDHP.

      Or go to work for a drug company, or a healthcare provider. They see an economic incentive in keeping people in poor health.
    • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:14PM (#23683251) Homepage
      What's next? Only approved food may be sold? Perhaps any non-vegan food is subject to confiscation and the owners subject to arrest?

      Maybe we can ban alcohol nationally, since that worked so well last time.

      Oh, I know. Mandatory exercise. Not running fast enough? Well, attack dogs are cheaper that what you're costing medicare, so enough with your rights.

      The idea the economics of health care must trump individual rights leads to complete regulation and control of everyone's lives as a "cost saving measure". It's totalitarianism.

      But I suspect you know that, since your sig line seems to indicate you're trolling.. if so, well done.
      • You miss the point. The point is that when making everyday decisions about lifestyle, people get to externalize some of the cost. If we make them bear the cost, they will be less likely to make decisions that are more expensive for society as a whole.

        Just like corpoate pollution -- when the cost is externalized (because someone else bears the brunt of ecological damage and cleanup), it makes sense for companies to pollute. When they need to bear the cost of pollution (or at least account for the cost, v
        • On your comment:

          You miss the point. The point is that when making everyday decisions about lifestyle, people get to externalize some of the cost. If we make them bear the cost, they will be less likely to make decisions that are more expensive for society as a whole.

          and mine

          The idea the economics of health care must trump individual rights leads to complete regulation and control of everyone's lives as a "cost saving measure". It's totalitarianism.

          We seem to agree that the phenomenon exists, although we see

          • That is valid. However, we are rapidly facing a situation where the burden of health care is, quite simply, going to hobble our economy. The answer, I think, is very complex, and must include incentives for healthy behavior (as opposed to punishment for unhealthy behavior -- two sides of the same coin), a tiered healthcare system, and the assignment of cost to the people who make the costly decisions.

            If our healthcare system does not work economically, we are screwed. I do not want people, six generatio
            • Seems like what we'll end up with then is no government paid for health care system. Given demographics, we just may not be able to afford it.

              We could also see something like what the NHS is trying in the UK [independent.co.uk], preventing people with "bad lifestyles" from receiving treatment.

              Seems like that would be self defeating. It would create a class of people who are forced, via taxes, to pay into a system that doesn't benefit them. That doesn't bode well for long term stability or viability.
              • Or a tiered system. Universal access to care to a certain threshold, then private insurance will need to take care of the rest. It'll suck when people die when we have the means to save them, but it's a harsh fact that one person's value to society can be tiny compared to the cost of extending that person's life.

                Harsh, yes. Cruel, maybe. Necessary, I think so.
      • Sorry to double-reply, I hit submit before I was finished.

        I don't think any of the things you mentioned should be banned. I do believe, however, that allowing people to externalize the costs of their behavior (whether they are smokers, polluters, poachers, or anything else) means that people take actions that are highly inefficient and detrimental from a societal point of view. If we want people to make decisions that benefit themselves, while not unduly causing harm or costing others, we need to make su
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:14PM (#23683253)
      You think? Hmmm. How about someone in government realizes that AIDS costs the public treasury a huge amount of money, so they start penalizing a gay lifestyle? Or being unmarried, which shortens up your life? Or amusing yourself rock-climbing or bicycle racing, which are more dangerous than going to the gym and riding a stationary bicycle to nowhere?

      More plausibly, how about someone in government thinks that lifestyle X is bad for you, and starts handing out tax penalties and rebates accordingly -- but he's wrong. Not like we've ever had any health fads that turned out to be nonsense, right? And no government bureaucrat would dream of making decisions when he doesn't really have enough information to make a good one, right?
      • On this:

        More plausibly, how about someone in government thinks that lifestyle X is bad for you, and starts handing out tax penalties and rebates accordingly -- but he's wrong.

        I think you nailed the problem with totalitarianism.

        For an example, take the bureaucrat working for an elected official. The bureaucrat comes out with some boneheaded rule about each citizen must not eat meat as it's very unhealthy.

        Once symptoms of B12 deficiency [wikipedia.org] start showing up, there's at least a chance the elected official will re

      • You think? Hmmm. How about someone in government realizes that AIDS costs the public treasury a huge amount of money, so they start penalizing a gay lifestyle?

        Overruled, unconstitutional. How about instead we do not punish everyone for the actions of an inconsiderate few who decide that having unprotected sex or using septic needles is ok? I do believe in the need and utility for a public safety net... but I cannot condone allowing people to have no negative repercussions for behavior that costs society a

    • by non (130182)
      i'm afraid its not that simple. your comment seems to have overlooked some of the other factors that contribute to health, such as; lead, asbestos, and other types of industrial pollution.

      this system that you consider a 'win-win' is actually a more tightly controlled authoritarian system than the one in which you currently live. the only practical advantage here would be for the HMOs and insurance companies. they would be better able to price coverage.

      i don't think it would require a great deal of imaginati
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      People with unhealthy lifestyles cost communities and bigger units (states, federal govt) a lot of money in emergency services, medicare costs, etc.

      Yeah? Give me (actually, give my friends who have no health care) taxpayer-supported medical care like the civilized world has and we'll talk. Now, when you said "emergency services" I thought smokers, and wondered about how various fires start. Google helped little. But one page [marshfield.wi.us] (listed at the bottom of Google's first search page [google.com]) suggests that we put a high ta
    • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:31PM (#23683535)
      "Seems like a win-win to me."

      As long as you are on the enforcement end, and not on the end being forced to give up all of your rights as a rational being, everything will always look win-win.
      • As long as you are on the enforcement end, and not on the end being forced to give up all of your rights as a rational being, everything will always look win-win.

        Who said anything about being forced to give up rights?

        How about this -- if you smoke, you pay a cigarette tax that is put into a fund to be used only for medical care. That way, you don't trample on my right to be secure in my property, when I get taxed more to pay for your care when you are suffering from lung cancer, heart disease, or any of t

        • "Who said anything about being forced to give up rights?"

          The original poster in reference to the article's worst case scenario.

          "How about this -- if you smoke, you pay a cigarette tax that is put into a fund to be used only for medical care. That way, you don't trample on my right to be secure in my property, when I get taxed more to pay for your care when you are suffering from lung cancer, heart disease, or any of the other illnesses smoking causes."

          Your first sentence contradicts your second. Yo
          • The original poster in reference to the article's worst case scenario.

            I was the original poster. And I did not mention giving up rights.

            You propose taxing others so that your right to property is not violated through taxation. That right is universal. Forcing someone - anyone - to give up some amount of their productivity is an immoral violation of their rights as a rational being.

            Are you deliberately misunderstanding? When a smoker smokes, they are costing me money because we have a public safety net

            • "I was the original poster. And I did not mention giving up rights."

              You said the quoted situation sounded like a good idea. The quoted situation involved the regulation of what people can and cannot choose to do to their own bodies. Are you saying this does not violate their natural liberty [wikipedia.org]?

              "When a smoker smokes, they are costing me money because we have a public safety net that subsidizes their treatment for illnesses caused by smoking. Rather than have *me* and *you* and everyone else pay for it, wh
              • You said the quoted situation sounded like a good idea. The quoted situation involved the regulation of what people can and cannot choose to do to their own bodies. Are you saying this does not violate their natural liberty?

                I expanded on the original quote from TFA. What makes sense is that people should need to pay the cost for their decisions, rather than getting to externalize it to the general population.

                You are proposing replacing one rights violation with another. Rights are universal and should nev

                • by strech (167037)

                  I expanded on the original quote from TFA. What makes sense is that people should need to pay the cost for their decisions, rather than getting to externalize it to the general population.

                  But externalization of some costs is a good idea. (Roads for example). Both for reasons of efficiency (you can't make everything a toll road) and fairness (a good road structure ultimately benefits everyone). And any sort of tax incentive for a "healthy lifestyle" will prevent certain things from being externalized tha

                • "No, I am proposing removing one rights violation and replacing it with something that doesn't violate rights."

                  Your proposed replacement violates the individual smoker's right to their property, just as the original regulation violated your right to your property. They are both violations of the same right.

                  "How does making people responsible for the effetcs of their actions violate their rights?"

                  Forcing someone to give up a portion of their productivity to the government, or anyone else, is a viola
                  • I am not a libertarian, so we're not going to agree on this.

                    I believe that taxation with consent is justified. I believe that social safety networks are justified, necessary, and profitable to the country at large.

                    Given these items, I believe it is unjustified for people who willingly take action that has costs the public, not to have to contribute towards those costs.

                    Those who speed should pay fines. Those who drive drunk should pay fines. Those who pollute should pay for remediation. Those who kil
            • by strech (167037)

              When a smoker smokes, they are costing me money because we have a public safety net that subsidizes their treatment for illnesses caused by smoking. Rather than have *me* and *you* and everyone else pay for it, why don't they have to pay for it?

              First of all, some people who use the public safety net won't "deserve" it. It's not all cute orphans and single mothers whose husband/boyfriend dumped her. There's a public safety net anyway. Second, cigarettes are already taxed extra for public health reasons.

    • by strech (167037)

      Sounds like a good idea to me. People with unhealthy lifestyles cost communities and bigger units (states, federal govt) a lot of money in emergency services, medicare costs, etc. I welcome the idea that those with healthy lifestyles shouldn't be subsidizing those with unhealthy lifestyles.

      This seems facially reasonable, but is related to why I will never support government funded healthcare :

      It allows the government (and by extension, a majority vote) to dictate what you do with your life by making it incr

      • by strech (167037)
        As a note of clarification, government subsidized healthcare (in which our tax dollars fund health care for groups of people that wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it) is a good idea - it's vulnerable to the same kind of meddling, but not to the same extent, and it targets a group of people that really need the help.
    • You are thinking about health records in the sense that someone smokes a pack a day and shouldn't get the same paybacks on their care as other people. I applaud that, in terms of smoking, but in terms of everything else, you are dead wrong.

      Some people are overweight because they eat too much and don't exercise enough. Others are overweight because they (truthfully) have a glandular problem. Some, like my sister, are the result of the epileptic drugs she takes which lower her metabolism. Should these lat
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by frogzilla (1229188)
      Apparently it is living longer that costs more to society. Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure [plosjournals.org]
  • In Other News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by had3l (814482) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:51AM (#23682893)
    Scientists are baffled by the realization that most things that matter are either Good - Or Bad.
  • by WamBam (1275048) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:13PM (#23683245)
    As someone who deals with paper medical records all day, I welcome standardized electronic medical records. Not only would e-records be portable, they would also allow for greater continuity of care between healthcare providers. Obviously, security is an issue and I'd like to see more measures taken to ensure that our medical records are protected. As for the possibility of these records raising insurance premiums I think the best way around this is to create a national healthcare plan. I would think that in countries where there is national healthcare services, electronic medical records would be of great benefit since it's inevitable that such a large beaucratic undertaking would need centralized patient information. I would take issue with basing rates on people with healthier lifestyles. There are many in this country that aren't living healther lifestyles due to socio-economic factors. People that live in in poorer areas don't always have access to proper healthcare, are often not educated in the ways of maintaining health and don't have access to nutritional foods.
  • by D Ninja (825055) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:33PM (#23683567)
    From the "Good Things" article...

    Ready to take their relationship to the next level, lovers Romeo and Juliet share STD status reports through their Google Health accounts. If things get serious, they'll open up their entire files to each other and compare genetic data when contemplating children.
    This doesn't seem like such a great thing to me. Here's the scenario I see...

    Romeo and Juliet share STD data. They are both clean (or so the record says). Great. They can now enjoy sex with each other.

    Then, over time, they decide that this relationship is really a great thing and they want to start looking into marriage. They get married. Everybody is happy.

    Now that they're married (because nobody would be stupid enough to share this type of data BEFORE marriage...would they?), they share their genetic information with each other as they are talking about children. But, what's this?! Juliet sees that Romeo has a high propensity for Down Syndrome (or any other "disease" - take your pick). Well, this isn't good.

    So, instead, Juliet decides to get a divorce and go on her merry way.

    The End
    • Now that they're married (because nobody would be stupid enough to share this type of data BEFORE marriage...would they?), they share their genetic information with each other as they are talking about children. But, what's this?! Juliet sees that Romeo has a high propensity for Down Syndrome (or any other "disease" - take your pick). Well, this isn't good.

      So, instead, Juliet decides to get a divorce and go on her merry way.

      Is this really bad, compared to alternatives like someone like Juliet that can't cop

    • by 5KVGhost (208137)
      You should realize that people already get genetic testing prior to getting married and/or prior to having children. This is not a new scenario. For example, those marrying in Jewish communities may check for Tay Sachs, blacks might check for sickle-cell disease, and couples with a family history of certain rare genetic disorders can check specifically for those.

      These aren't relatively minor issues like a club-foot or cleft palate; these are genetic disorders that often fatal or crippling. And I think it's
    • But, what's this?! Juliet sees that Romeo has a high propensity for Down Syndrome (or any other "disease" - take your pick). Well, this isn't good.

      So, instead, Juliet decides to get a divorce and go on her merry way.

      Why do you hate Darwin?

      Seriously, what's wrong with a little unnatural selection? Let the 'purestrain' people breed with eachother, and the rest of us can interbreed. How else are we going to get speciation within a 100 generations so that we can have sustainable populations of dwarves, g

    • by goodmanj (234846)
      But, what's this?! Juliet sees that Romeo has a high propensity for Down Syndrome (or any other "disease" - take your pick). Well, this isn't good.


      That's a tragedy for Romeo, but I much prefer it to the tragedy of bringing a kid with, say, cystic fibrosis or Tay-Sachs disease into the world. Or Down syndrome, though that's more closely tied to the age of the mother than to genetics.

      The thing about the major genetic diseases I've mentioned is that in most cases, they're recessive, which means that a variety
  • Tomorrow it will rain - or not.
  • worst idea ever. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lawn.ninja (1125909)
    I wish I could say more, but... This is the worst idea ever. It is also one of the biggest money pits. No hospital I've ever worked for would let control of that data go. We just had a long drawn out battle with one of our vendors about that. 2 years later they still don't have access to our data.
  • There are some interesting precidence here but I think the article did a very poor job of comming up with worst case senerios.

    Grandma Mini
    How about the Chinese , or Russian , or German or American ( what have you ) have legalized euthanasia. Grandma mini's medical records indicate that she has become far too much of a drain on the nationalized medical system and that the taxes she and all of her immediate family pay into the government are causing a drain on society. Since obviously grandma mini can no lo
  • Personally, I think this is well overdue. A common health record system that all hospitals and patients is highly beneficial. I think any digtial system has the potential to be abused, so perhaps a third-party organization could oversee this, but truthfully I don't see that happening, as everyone wants to kill it before it can be effective.

    While a private company developing technology like this could seem questionable; what I'd like to know is why has the medical industry NOT took the initative to cre
    • what I'd like to know is why has the medical industry NOT took the initative to create such a system themselves?

      Perhaps because they don't want patients to start lying to their doctors because they're afraid of their insurance company going all Scrooge on them?
    • http://www.hl7.org/ [hl7.org] Major medical records systems are pretty universally HL7 compliant. That means medical providers can uniformly interchange your charts without the help of Google. It has been around for a decade.
  • is Google's business plan. You are nuts if you put your medical record on their databases. No freaking way I will do this.

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