Nothing like speaking with people from different standpoints to open your mind. This one’s about patient records. In many countries, the law states that personal information belongs to the person it refers to, and this person has all rights on that information (including access, of course). Health information, together with race, sex orientation and religion, are the most sensitive kinds of data according to the EU. So it strikes me that it’s damn hard to get hold of your own patient record. Honestly, I am fed up of having to recite all my medications, chronic conditions, surgeries, family history… every time I visit a new doctor. So it is only logical that I could get my patient record from all the health providers that have treated me so far, and it would make sense that I can hand over my patient record to any new physician instead of me reciting (and forgetting stuff) and she typing everything up. Right?

In practice, wrong. And I never knew why. So this week I had the chance to ask the about a panel of experts on integrated care during HIMSS’s excellent World of Health IT Congress. Two guys said that I was right, we should have a way to obtain said records but in practice it’s impossible. Another panelist, a medical doctor, said that many healthcare professionals won’t agree with me and won’t allow that a patient gets access to their own health data.

This was puzzling, I never thought clinicians would be the impediment (even though part of the Hypocratic oath includes some stuff about when to disclose tough information…). Then it dawned on me. They believe they own that patient information. I wondered why? Then the answer was clear to me. They believe that information is the result of their work. They believe they hold intellectual rights to *my* personal information!!!! My mind has gone – booom! I think this is bananas. But I think it’s true.