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Lehigh Valley Health Network Doctor Fired When He Transferred Patient Data Into a Concierge Data Base–PHRs Could Have Been

Posted Dec 07 2010 2:02pm

This is a unique story here but patient information via HIPAA needs to be protected and instead of transferring patient data right into a MDVIP data base, he could have image taken another route and that would have been to have the patients use a PHR.  Yes it is a little extra work but if patients would have had their own personal health record, and if they decided to follow the doctor to his new concierge practice, then the patient would have been in control to share the information.  As you can see below MDVIP is owned by Proctor and Gamble and is a company set up to help doctors with a boutique practice business model. 

I am sure the doctor was not violating HIPAA on purpose but rather just wanted the demographic and perhaps other information to continue caring for his patients, but again the PHR is the way to do this.  The physician’s group has filed a lawsuit as well and now the doctor is not associated with MDVIP and the article states a phone call survey was taken to contact the patients. 

Who knows how this will all end up but a costly lesson for everyone it seems all the way around.  A PHR held by the patients I feel would have made all the difference in the world.  This also brings about some good questions too as it were only demographic information that was used, shoot this stuff is bought and sold all over the web today and beyond most consumers comprehension.  The data flow here was just outside the privacy laws. 

Here’s another interesting link to read up on relative to privacy. 

Patients Like Me Experienced Data Mining Through a Data Mining Research Firm Break In –The Nielsen Company

Now there are marketing companies that flat out buy your prescription data and sell it to insurers or companies doing clinical trials too and this you have no control over if you are on record at a pharmacy or PBM and the second company notes below is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Health Care and this has been going on for years and they make big dollars doing it so again by comparison your medication records can be bought and sold all over the place, but let a doctor take some simple demographics, it seems the lobbyists have it in here as there’s profits to be made here. 

You can read the statement from Milliman about Intelliscript here .

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“Does this process make it more difficult for consumers to get insurance?
No.  There is nothing new about consumers authorizing the release of their medical records, including prescriptions, to insurers.  This standard process has been in place for decades, helping insurers make good decisions about rates and insurability.”

You can read more about Ingenix MedPoint here.

There’s also a flash presentation where you can view the process here.

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“By increasing understanding of potential disease conditions and relative risk, MedPoint enables underwriters to more accurately project future claims costs on a case-by-case basis.”

Data mining is just another series of algorithms out there functioning on the web to find data.  Writing queries to match is not that hard once one finds a common denominator and again read below to where the one company wants a patent on their automated query system to match up your personal information with the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

“Department of Algorithms – Do We Need One of These to Regulate Upcoming Laws?

Perhaps this doctor will look in other ways to create his concierge practice as it appears this is where this was headed and there’s nothing wrong with that if his geographic area has the support of the patients who see value, and many doctors have changed to a concierge practice, and it’s not a crime, but insurers generally will fight this as they lose the element of control with the data as it resides with the doctor, gee the battle for patient data can sure get ugly.  If this pursues in court I see this as a total waste of money and taxpayer time as the firing I feel is enough as Lehigh has made their point and we need doctors more than ever now so let him practice how he chooses.  BD 

Lehigh Valley Health Network has fired an internist after determining he delivered personal information, including names, addresses and health insurance information, on thousands of patients to another network to which he was applying.
LVHN released Dr. Mark Kender after he gave out the information on more than 2,200 patients to a "concierge" medical network called MDVIP, said LVHN spokesman Brian Downs. The network on Friday sent letters to Kender's patients explaining why he was dismissed, Downs said.

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