For a start, as I said in my last post and many times, and at least one of these commenters has written at length, the benefits of sharing health data in clinical situations massively outweigh the risk. So that should be the focus of the discussion.
I am NOT saying that there shouldn’t be privacy protections and there is no reason in my mind why, for all HIPAA’s flaws, it cannot be extended to PHR providers as covered entities.
However, as far as I can tell nothing that is happening here violates HIPAA. Showing you keyword based advertising may not to everyone’s taste, but it does not mean your private health data is being transferred to anyone. And presumably your data will only end up in these services if you give them permission to accept it, which will include consent to provide whatever services and advertising you’ll see.
And that’s assuming that either company does advertising based on records rather than search terms (which is Google make that 98% of their money).
But exactly where are Microsoft and Google suggesting that they’re going to be selling private identified data? Nowhere. Microsoft has bent over backwards to demonstrate that they have no intention of allowing themselves or anyone else to access your health records without permission. And Google will likely do the same when it announces its plans officially.
And of course if you’re paranoid about your health records being
with them, I’m sure someone else has a solution that you’ll like
instead, or you can be free to not use any solution.
And as for consumer reaction? Dmitriy really needs to begin to
understand what shapes consumer opinion and action. It’s what gets
written in the press. And if reporters consistently concentrate on
irrelevancies and miss the bigger picture, that consumer opinion will
take a while to get to the right opinion on the important issues. (Did
you notice the Iraq war, Dmitriy?)
And if Dmitriy thinks I’m promoting this simply for my personal
gain, and that there’s no benefit to better, more controlled sharing of
health information using Google, Microsoft or any other vendor as a
vehicle….well I’m not sure a shake is enough.