Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Think This Really Is The Thin End Of A Very Nasty Wedge. Think Carefully Before You Sign Up for A NEHRS / PCEHR.

This popped up a little while ago.

'Grave concerns' over new GP dataset

16 January 2013   Rebecca Todd
GPs and privacy experts have “grave concerns” about an extensive new dataset to be extracted from GP practices.
The NHS Commissioning Board published its first planning guidance for the NHS - ‘Everyone Counts: Planning for patients 2013-2014’ – last month.
It says a new GP dataset will be “requested” from GP practices for submission to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, described as a “statutory safe haven.”
“The patient identifiable components will not be released outside the safe haven except as permitted by the Data Protection Act,” it adds.
Practices will be requested to provide data on patient demographics, events, referrals, diagnosis, health status and exceptions.
This includes information on patients’ alcohol consumption and whether a GP has given exercise or dietary advice or completed a mental health review.
GP practices are expected to provide the data using the General Practice Extraction Service.
“The data will flow securely, via GPES, to the HSCIC, the statutory safe haven, which will store the data and link it only where approved and necessary, ensuring that patient confidentiality is protected,” the guidance explains.
Potential uses for this data are not detailed, however the NHS CB’s national director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey told a conference in December that a “standardised routine set of data” would be required from all GPs to help assess their quality.
Dr Paul Cundy, joint chairman of the BMA and RCGP's joint IT committee, said the committee had no prior warning of the new data set before it was published in December.
The committee has met with Kelsey to discuss the proposals and invited him to its next meeting for “further discussions.”
“It’s an interesting proposal, but as with many simple ideas it has got some complex issues behind it,” Dr Cundy said.
“If you compare this data set with the Summary Care Record data set and the time it took to agree the SCR it’s obvious that we will need to be having quite prolonged discussions.”
“I know that there will be a significant number of patients who will not want their identifiable data to leave the practice.”
“The issue for me is what should a GP do if a patient explicitly dissents from this sort of data set going on to the IC?”
Lots more concerns here:
Frankly this is just horrifying and is so open to abuse it is really worrying. Anyone who thinks the Government’s lust for data is any less than policy makers in the UK is delusional and there is one clear lesson here - do not give any sensitive information to Government agencies that you want to remain in charge of and retain control over.
I am sure the ‘nanny state’ wants to know how much we drink and smoke and eat - but my view is that it is our business and not theirs.
Be both alert and alarmed and keep your sensitive information to yourself. The only saving grace is that it will be a good while before the NEHRS contains enough data to be statistically useful and maybe annoyance on the public’s part and much better governance might just save us!