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Mythbusting Canadian Health Care and Internet Shopping to fill hospital beds

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care
Across the browser over the weekend came these two gems:
Mythbusting Canadian Health Care — Part I | OurFuture.org
Mythbusting Canadian Healthcare, Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers | OurFuture.org
Hattip to Shelley Powers

One of the tactics used by Health Insurance Companies and their Sock Puppets in fighting Universal Health Care is that having a single payer system will drive us into the arms of the dreaded scourge of ‘socialism’. ‘Socialism’ is of course being a system that is applicable to everyone, which is a strange argument to be making in the 21st century, especially in a Democracy, where Equality for everyone is the bedrock principle. So naturally they use Canada as the evil argument against Universal Health Care.
95% of the current Debate surrounding Privacy of Personal Health Records is directly related to Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt over getting and affording coverage.

Shopping While Hospitalized
This morning, this nugget showed up on my radar:
Even if You’re Ill, You Can Still Stay Connected |NY Times
Here is one pithy nugget;

“Just like they would with a hotel, patients expect a degree of connectedness when they’re in the hospital,” said Timothy Zoph, chief information officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “And for ones that do it well, like we think we do, it’s a differentiating experience.”

Northwestern Memorial last year spent an undisclosed amount to install 42-inch flat-screen televisions and Internet connections near each of the 200 beds in its new women’s hospital building. The screens are big enough, and close enough, for patients to read the text on Web pages, which patients click through with a remote-control keyboard and mouse. They may also zoom in on certain parts of a page.

That’s Right Kids! While you are in the hospital, you have the ability to shop your ass off, while the hospital is filing a medical lien against your assets for payment, the insurance company is figuring out how to deny your claim, shift the cost, and beat the hospital out of reasonable and customary payment for services rendered.

Welcome to Health Care Bankruptcy! In with a life, out with a cardboard box.

Google Health Records

Here is a peek at Google Health. . The same clean interface that is a hallmark of Google. The other thing is that this is not Microsoft Health Vault. That was the good news.

Here is the bad news. Using a Google account for accessing and keeping this information ‘safe’. Google has consistently hammered individuality from their offerings and services. It doesn’t matter how many different services or toys you use that Google offers, they are all kept in the same bucket which is your Google Identity, which is your email or Gmail address.

Think about that for a moment. Google News, Alerts, Piccasa, Google office products, Gmail, and any other number of things, including any ads you click on, all go into the bucket with your name on it. Now Google does have a reputation for using computers to do the work, such as the algorithms for things like Page Rank, and serving ads on websites. So in one sense there is security in obscurity, just in the sheer volume of information. If you do not think that Google will not leverage this information, I have 300 miles of white sand beach here in Phoenix, Arizona that I will gladly sell you.
However, that obscurity will vaporize in a heartbeat, with a username and some password cracking software.

The funny thing about some health care information, is that it is not important. You get the clap, you take antibotics, and you move on. You may be embarrassed, but for the most part you will live. The unfunny part of health care information is the bits where you develop something serious. Currently this information is being used by Health Insurance Companies to deny claims or to cancel your ass. As long as there is not Universal Health Care, this information will eventually kill you.

Where Google Health is unclear and therefore incomplete is in the depth and completeness of health records. For example, a couple of years ago I had chest pains, which required a hospital stay and some tests. Had blood work, temp, respiration, heartbeat monitoring, which consumed a few hundred K of space. Had a Cardiac Stress test lasting about 30 mins, which consumed 40GB of harddrive space. The MRI sucked up over 100GB of space. Two tests which sucked up more harddrive space than most computers have. Is Google gonna store all that? Somebody has to, or your records are not going to be complete.

There are a lot of things that can be done with health records for improving health, but not as long as we allow private insurance companies to cherry pick patients, and then when something does happen, cancel us.