Citizens' Council for Health Freedom: Huge Privacy Concerns with New Electronic Health Records' Alzheimer's Test
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have changed the medical profession—for the worse, says Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, http://www.cchfreedom.org), a national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights.
For example, says Twila Brase, CCHF president and co-founder, a new initiative at a clinical center at Chicago’s NorthShore University HealthSystem is using the organization’s Electronic Health Records and advanced analytics to pinpoint which patients might be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and tag them with a score, according to a report by Health Data Management.
“Some may think this ‘advancement’ and use of EHRs is a positive development for early intervention and prevention of diseases, but such scoring based on predictive algorithms will have huge implications on patient lives,” Brase said. “The score essentially presumes a fact that may not be true. What’s the impact on a patient’s life when that score, produced by analysis without their consent, is given to them? How will it impact their happiness, their choices, their families, their view of the future? It’s a violation of the patient’s trust, as well as their right to self-determination and privacy.
“Furthermore,” she continued, “doctors, once they know a patient’s possible risk for a variety of diseases, may be reluctant to take on that patient, especially as government-run medicine dictates how doctors are paid—increasingly not for the services they provide, but in lump-sum bundled payments regardless of cost or disease complexity. These questions and considerations seem like scenes from a futuristic film set many decades down the road, but the reality is that with EHRs and the drive to predictive analytics because of how doctors and hospitals will now be paid, we are much closer to possibilities like these than the public may think.”
According to Health Data Management’s report, the “Center for Brain Health is running data in NorthShore’s records system through analytics to identify patients at risk for Alzheimer’s, and then preemptively direct patients to take steps that can reduce the likelihood that they’ll get the disease.” NorthShore also is using EHRs to “analyze five years’ worth of patient data and use it develop a prediction model that will be paired with the records system to assess the risk for Alzheimer’s for every patient coming to NorthShore for treatment.”
After analyzing the data entered into the EHRs, patients will have an “Alzheimer’s disease likelihood score” assigned to them, which will be made available to primary care physicians.
“This is one of the many dangers of the government-mandated use of EHRs,” Brase said. “Our private medical records are now being used as analytics tools to ‘mark’ all of us for certain diseases with complete disregard for our privacy or the impact on private lives.”
Additionally, in Brase’s home state of Minnesota, some health systems are revamping their EHRs to pressure all patients aged 18 to 64 into HIV testing. According to a recent article in the Minnesota Star Tribune, EHRs will give doctors and nurses “a prompt during a health care visit with a patient who shows no history of taking the HIV test. ... But doctors and nurses also need to prepare themselves for what can be a difficult conversation with patients about the HIV test.”
“Both of these initiatives—tagging all patients with an Alzheimer’s risk score and strongly suggesting all patients get tested for HIV—greatly compromise a patient’s privacy, and Electronic Health Records are paving the way for this massive intrusion,” Brase said.
For more information about EHRs, see “E-Health Records (EHRs) – 10 Things to Know,” and for more information on CCHF, visit its web site at http://www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cchfreedom or its Twitter feed, @CCHFreedom.
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a patient-centered national health freedom organization based in St. Paul, Minn., exists to protect health care choices and patient privacy. CCHF sponsors the daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which airs on approximately 350 stations nationwide, including 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. Listeners can learn more about the agenda behind health care initiatives and steps they can take to protect their health care choices, rights and privacy.
CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” A public health nurse, Brase has been interviewed by CNN, Fox News, Minnesota Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, New York Public Radio, the Associated Press, Modern Healthcare, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times, among others. She is at the forefront of informing the public of crucial health issues, such as intrusive wellness and prevention initiatives in Obamacare, patient privacy, informed consent, the dangers of “evidence-based medicine” and the implications of state and federal health care reform.