Thursday, December 15, 2005

New York City Orders Labs to Submit Data From Tests of Diabetics (HgA1c's)

I don't mind much when insurance companies send letters reminding about screening tests, medications, or disease control -- but will New York City start doing the same to doctors and patients? Receiving an official letter from NYC that your HgA1c is 11 and your diabetes is wildly out of control is unlikely to motivate people much, but it would be simple to study. From The New York Times:
As part of a broad new effort to better understand how diabetics manage their illness, the New York City Board of Health is ordering laboratories to pass along detailed information on individual tests that measure blood sugar levels to the city's health department.

It is the first such reporting and tracking effort in the country, and it is being closely watched by public health officials nationwide wrestling with ways to better control the epidemic of diabetes...

However, some critics of the effort worry that it is an invasion of patient privacy, especially since people will not be given the chance to opt out of having their information collected. There is also a fear that the information could find its way into the hands of insurance providers, who could, in turn, use it to discriminate against patients.

"I am shocked and dismayed to hear this news about A1c blood test results being given to the health department without patient knowledge or consent," said Robin Kaigh, a New York lawyer who has tracked medical privacy issues. She added, "In addition, this landmark step will cause other databases of sensitive patient information or disease registries to be seriously contemplated in the future..."
Technorati Tags: Diabetes, New York City, Medicine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I'm not a diabetic, this information is upsetting.

Like so many other "democratic" concepts, "patient privacy" is only an "idea" ... and with the way the laws are set down, this one often serves to do more harm than good. There's really no area of your life that the government can't (and doesn't) invade.

The government makes the laws, and then rapes the laws.

I wonder if general apathy and ignorance are what will eventually bring our nation down? They've got a real good start on it now ...