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Archive for October, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu Rears It’s Ugly Head – Time for Help and Truth

There’s so little I can say about swine flu that hasn’t already been said.  And to that point, I’ve already said plenty!

In fact, I’ve said it all on my About.com Guide to Patient Empowerment, so I figure it’s best just to give you a master list of all the articles I’ve written, by topic:

H1N1 Swine Flu 2009 – 2010 Frequently Asked Questions

H1N1 Swine Flu – Plan and Prepare to Get the Swine Flu

Should You Fear Pandemic Swine Flu?

When Is Time to Call the Doctor for a Swine Flu Drug?

Should I Call In Sick or Go to Work

Swine Flu Vaccine FAQs – FAQs About Novel H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine and Vaccinations

Side Effects and Other Problems Caused by Flu Vaccines

Swine Flu Myths – Facts, Fiction and Fraud about Swine Flu

Is It Time to Throw a Swine Flu Party?

Bogus, Counterfeit or Unapproved H1N1 Swine Flu Products

H1N1 Swine Flu – Review of Pandemic H1N1 Swine Flu Rumors and Theories

Confirm or Debunk H1N1 Pandemic Swine Flu Conspiracy Theories

Swine Flu H1N1 – Swine Flu H1N1 Websites and Resources

And blog posts that link to additional resources:

Can You Buy Swine Flu Vaccine on the Internet?

Why Not Just Assume You WILL Get the H1N1 Swine Flu?

H1N1 Swine Flu – A Heads Up on More Fraud

Just Assume It’s the Swine Flu

How Healthcare Reform Could Prevent the Spread of Swine (or any) Flu

H1N1 Swine Flu Update – Vaccines, Clinical Trials and Elmo, Too

Swine Flu — and the Crooks Lie in Waiting

Green Monkeys and the Swine Flu – Is the World Doomed?

Have I missed sometime you’d like to read about?  Let me know!  blog(at)EPAdvocate.com.

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Quick Action Needed! To Get Your Medical Test Results…

laboratoryHave you ever been frustrated trying to get copies of your medical test results?  It may be because there is an existing law that says you can only get them from the doctor or other provider who ordered them for you.

That law is yet another example of how patients are excluded from being allowed to take responsibility for their own healthcare.  Further, it is one more area of healthcare that has, in some ways, become dangerous.  The law exists because someone’s protective wisdom says we patients are either 1. not smart enough to handle the results ourselves or 2. need to be protected from bad news until a doctor can explain the results to us.  Studies have shown that 7% of all test results that reflect bad news that require a treatment are never delivered to patients (pause… and think about that for a moment….)

It is vitally important we cut out the middleman here!

You now have the opportunity to affect a change — by simply letting the Health Data Rights group know you support them.  I received this email today.  I have replied with a resounding YES I SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS and I hope you’ll do the same.

This email must be sent by Monday, October 19, 2009.

You can send your supporting email to:  action@healthdatarights.org Put “Consensus Letter” in the subject — and make your opinions known.

Change The Rules and Get Your Labs

We are writing to share a timely opportunity to put HealthDataRights into action! On Tuesday, October 20, the Health IT Policy Committee at ONC is holding a hearing regarding CLIA laws and access by consumers to their own test results. We have a unique chance to speak with one, resounding voice that the federal barriers to patient access to test results should be removed. Dr. Phil Marshall of WebMD will be testifying at the hearing, and he will be presenting the linked consensus letter http://www.healthdatarights.org/pdfs/CLIA-Letter.pdf that provides background on the issue, recommends two common sense ways the federal laws can be changed to allow greater access, and the benefits of making those changes. This letter has been vetted by some of the top health data experts and health data privacy lawyers. Here is a summary of the letter and what we’re asking you to do:

ISSUE: Federal regulations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule treat test results as a special case, separate from other protected health information. CMS has issued regulations that further state that results can only be delivered to “Authorized Persons”, which as it is currently defined does not include the patient who is the subject of the test.

PROPOSED CHANGE: We propose simply eliminating the special treatment of test result data, and have it be treated under HIPAA just like other protected health information. We also propose that Authorized Persons explicitly include the patient (upon request by the patient)

BENEFITS: While these changes do not address the state laws in a small number of states that further restrict access to test results, they remove substantial federal barriers to data access. It is unlikely to cause any harm because, under HIPAA, providers and labs generally would have up to 30 days to respond to the patient’s request, providing them great flexibility in how and when they deliver the test results. Also, because so many clinically significant test results (approximately 7%) are never reported to the patient, increased access can help ensure that test results aren’t  lost to the ether . Third, because approximately 14% of labs and other tests are repeated because prior results aren’t available, making test results more available to consumers can help reduce this duplication and related costs. Finally, the explosion in health management applications and services that could make use of test results have the potential to help consumers better manage their health, make more informed health decisions, and help lower costs.

CALL TO ACTION:

STEP 1: Send an email by close of business Monday, October 19, with the following information:

Your name and, if you choose, your organization & your stance on this letter:

-I support the letter and wish to be listed as a co-signer

-I support the letter but do not want to be listed

-I don’t support the letter, and why

STEP 2: Blog about this issue. Include stories, data and stats. Let’s generate some real energy around making this change!  You can also comment on the new healthdatarights blog.

Note the letter can be found here [http://www.healthdatarights.org/pdfs/CLIA-Letter.pdf]

Initial signers:

Dr. Phil Marshall, WebMD
Dr. Daniel Sands, Harvard Medical School
Jamie Heywood, PatientsLikeMe
Dr. David Kibbe, The Kibbe Group, LLC
Nate McLemore, Microsoft
Adam Bosworth, Keas
Dave deBronkart, E-patients
Dr. Roni Zeiger, Google
Colin Evans, Dossia

[email action@healthdatarights.org ] to join.

PS: Forward this to your friends and don’t forget to endorse healthdatarights at http://www.healthdatarights.org/

This email must be sent by Monday, October 19, 2009. You can send your supporting email to:  action@healthdatarights.org Put “Consensus Letter” in the subject — and make your opinions known. It will take you only one minute — vitally important — so please participate.

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