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17 September, 2008

Healthy integration

I hadn't realised that the official position of the BMA (the professional body governing UK doctors (but not surgeons)) is that a national 'integrated centralised health record system' should be strictly opt-in: that "patients should give explicit consent before any healthcare data is uploaded onto the spine".  Not compulsory, and not defaulting to 'in unless specifically opted-out'.

Excellent; they got it right, though as Tom Reynolds observes, it presumes that patients are equipped to make educated decisions about privacy/security issues.
All proposed national databases should be that way, and also require further explicit consent before information can be shared with other databases so, for example, the national census, DWP or police cannot freely access one's health records.

A slightly negative point is the rumour, also reported by Reynolds, that those electing to opt out of the NHS Database (or rather, declining to opt in) will be added to another database, a handy register of 'difficult' people.

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