That “open book” attitude to data sharing isn’t held by everyone, particularly cardiology patients. While this demographic trusts healthcare providers with their medical data, they’re often the most afraid of this information being hacked. This often stems from fear of being dropped by their insurance company or being “found out” by an employer paying hefty insurance premiums for less healthy employees. After all, lab results for a patient with hypertension or high cholesterol can tell a story many would rather keep private.
Cardiology patients, however, aren’t the only group concerned about data sharing. “Automated systems are dangerous with so much hacking going on,” said Josh R., a former US military serviceman. “When you go to the clinic now it’s not just you and the doctor in the room. It’s you and anyone with access to your records online. It’s dangerous as far as doctor-patient confidentiality is concerned.”
His concern? Upon leaving military service, combat veterans often experience post-traumatic stress disorder. While an official diagnosis can provide medical and financial assistance, Josh said such labels could follow a veteran for life, whether applying for a gun permit or a job. “People are now afraid to go to their doctor and be honest about symptoms,” said Josh, who often talks to young servicemen and women readjusting to life back home. He compares the accessibility of medical data to the growing custom of employers monitoring current or prospective employees’ social media pages. “It allows employers to create designer employees,” he said.