Project melds health-care, banking info – Backers say idea could slash costs of medical care

Imagine going to your bank’s Web site and being able to pick a doctor, schedule an office visit, check lab results or pay a bill from your last appointment. That’s one of the initiatives of the Medical Banking Project, a Franklin-based think tank that advocates using back-office systems perfected by banks to slash health-care costs.

Later this year, the project plans to launch a computer-based platform called BoardTrust that would let banks share information, including medical records, and provide standards to govern that process.

Executive Director John Casillas thinks banks could cut health-care costs and that they could certainly help trim the $35 billion a year spent to process medical bill payments.

“We’re linking the banking system into health care so the health-care world doesn’t have to invest in technology and processes that banks already have spent on heavily,” Casillas said.

Banks know security

Backers of the project point to investments that banks already have made to secure data — and their Web sites — and the trust many people have in banks among reasons why the idea should work.

{Just what we need: banks holding, tracking, sharing, and selling not only our financial records, but our medical records. Banks are one of the worst possible places to store sensitive medical records. Storing medical records in insurer or employer-owned health data banks are the other equally bad choices. Today it’s impossible for patients and consumers to control access to their medical records in financial institutions or anywhere else because HIPAA was gutted in 2002 and eliminated our right to control access to our records. Proposed federal legislation to establish health banking trusts where consumers could store personal health records and control all access is desperately needed to staunch the exploding proliferation of corporate data aggregation and data mining of the nation’s medical records. As the Executive Director of the Medical Banking Project says, banks and health plans “want to own the consumer.” We disagree, no one owns our medical records or any of our personal records—we do. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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