Say it Ain’t So, HIPAA!

Dear HIPAA: I’m sure you get a lot of hate mail, especially from folks in my profession, so when you got this letter from me you probably assumed it was more of the same.  Let me reassure you: I am not one of those docs. I do think patient privacy is important, and actually found you quite useful when facing unwanted probing questions from family members. I believe the only way for patients to really open up to docs like me is to have a culture of respect for privacy, and you are a large part of that trust I can enjoy.  Yeah, there was trust before you were around, but that was before the internet, and before people used words like “social media,” and “data mining.” But there have been things done in your name that I’ve recently come in contact with that make me conclude that either A: you are very much misunderstood, or B: you have a really dark side. The first situation has to do with my new-found infatuation with communication in healthcare. I believe that the tools afforded by the internet tubes could really change care for the better; in fact, I think they could allow systems of care that could totally disrupt our malignant sick-care, cash-care system. I’ve found ways to communicate that you would approve of and have shared them with my patients. They love it.  They love to connect with me while they have problems instead of paying for a visit and waiting in the office for a few hours for my help. It’s been really fun to see their enthusiasm....