Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Health Data Rights – Your Lab Results

Posted in Personal Health Record by drnic on October 16, 2009

in what is an aberration in the current law laboratory results are treated differently:

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.

You can find out more at HealthDataRights.org and the consensus letter here. As they state there is an opportunity to provide input tot he regulation and support a change ot the rules to allow easier access to your patient data to include laboratory data:

On Tuesday, 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.

Sign up, declare your rights and help support this initiative to gain access to your patient data or send an e-mail to declare yoru support action@healthdatarights.org

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H1N1 Vaccination

Posted in Preventative Healthcare, Primary Care by drnic on October 12, 2009

Recent discussions with friends and the extent of confusion suggest that some guidance on the latest flu challenges and vaccination choices.

Some facts:

  • The Current strain of concern is H1N1 (the misnaming of “swine” flu arose from one of the early outbreaks of the disease in pig farm in Mexico – “Quadra flu” might be better)
  • Severity varies
  • At Risk or High Risk groups are at (no surprise here) more risk of serious complications
  • The Young (in this case defined as <25 years old) appear to be more susceptible to problems/risks

The vaccination concerns center on the vaccine being “untested” but as the CDC points out

This vaccine will be made using the same processes and facilities that are used to make the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines

And as such will have a similar profile of safety as he seasonal flu vaccine delivered each year. In this case the profile of the vaccine ha been modified to attenuate it for the H1N1 strain but the delivery mechanism and system remains the same as delivered each year.

At Risk Groups and Vaccination Recommendations (per the CDC):

  • Pregnant women
  • Carers of children , 6 months old
  • Healthcare workers
  • The Young aged between 6 months and 24 years of age
  • Those “at risk” between 25 and 64 years old

Symptoms or Warning Signs (available from the CDC as a flyer) divided for Children and Adults
Children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

Adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

None of the above should be deemed “medical advice” but is an assimilation of information presented by the CDC