Letter: Data belongs to the patient
In response to Andis Robeznieks’ article ‘Health IT has potential to ease money woes’, I sincerely believe that health IT has the potential to improve healthcare delivery and it would be wonderful if physicians and patients would engage the idea. Having the patient data at the point of service is everything good.
But, counter to its intent, the idea that the data will be used for reporting mechanisms by the government and other authorities has kept many if not most physicians from utilizing IT. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Director Carolyn Clancy is correct about having good data and having it in our hands in a timely fashion is key. But, I want the data so that I can care for my patient—not to analyze my performance.
I am a passionate believer in IT and healthcare—but in this case the doctors are not paranoid, they are absolutely correct.
The data that have been collected (to date) are bad data (mostly administrative and not relevant to care) and have only served to make decision-making more confusing for patients and for physicians.
This is a very important story. Millions of dollars are being spent with the assumption that physicians will be willing to sacrifice their passion for care for a few additional dollars, and that we will use IT to support that decision. I think that you will find that doctors will remain stalwart proponents of only what is best for their patients. That remains our oath.
As far as the data go, they belong to the patient.
Marcy Zwelling, M.D.
Los Alamitos, Calif.