Vietnam Wall – Virtually Find Friends or Family Members

I received this in an email this morning and I thought I would pass this on to share with you.

Someone spent a lot of time on this and it is truly remarkable …to all my fellow Vietnam Vets take a look. Someone sent me the link below which is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio’s and other information on our lost comrades. It is a very interesting link, and those  who served in that time frame and lost friends or family can look them up on this site.  Pass it on to other veterans who you think would like this.

First click on a state……then when it opens ………a name…….then  it should show you a picture of the person or  at least his bio and medals……

Google + Medco = Medical Prescription Records Plan

Google has joined Medco to setup a data base of 60 million users to organize their medical prescription records. Health care professionals state that even in developed countries, many people die due to a lack of accurate medical and prescription records. it is hoped that by the year 2014 a depository of records will be available for all health care professionals to access. According to an article about the joint collaboration between Google and Medco, it also states that:

“Getting access to a comprehensive list of medications is important for improved patient safety and reducing medical errors,” said Sameer Samat, product director at Google Health. “Working with Medco, one of the nation’s leading pharmacy benefit managers, empowers our users to get electronic copies of their complete medication history, including all prescriptions filled at their local drugs store or through their mail-order benefit.”
Google Health is free, and users will be alerted to any potential drug interactions with other medications, diseases or allergies and they can update prescription history with a few clicks.

This seems to be the wave of the future and medical databases will become the norm.  What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Blue Cross/Blue Shield Of MA Joins Google Health

It noew seems that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA. is joining forces with Google Health and has entered into an agreement to store patient records. In an article over at Computer World the article states:

Google today announced that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has agreed to let its members import personal claims data to their Google Health profiles. The move blunts some of the program’s early critics, who had complained about the lack of support from insurance companies. Because insurers have claims data that spans various doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, they are often seen as a key to providing adequate data to populate personal health records (PHR) systems.

“Our members tell us they want easier and more portable access to their health care information,” said Steven Fox, the insurer’s vice president of provider network management, in a statement. “Having this information in one place can play an important role in managing a member’s health and in helping members and their doctors make health care decisions that can improve the quality of care they receive.”

Once the integration is complete, Massachusetts Blue Cross members will be able to manage all their health information at Google Health, and share it with any health care provider. Google Health allows users to store data about medical conditions, medications and past treatment online. Each time new data is added to a user’s profile, the system checks for potential adverse reactions to a medication or treatment.

This one statement I found of interest:

“Our members tell us they want easier and more portable access to their health care information,”

Hmmmm…….. It make one wonder just how many members of this health group actually asked for easier and portable access. I haven’t personally contacted my health carrier asking to join Google or Microsoft’s health storage system.

Have you?

Comments welcome.


Should We Allow Any Company The Ability To Store Our Medical Records?

In my original article about Microsoft & Kaiser Permanente joining in an effort to store patient records [here], one reader asked a question that I found interesting.

Reader leftystrat states:

I’ve been watching this unfold. We seem to have `progressed’ from the concept of electronic records directly to the debate on which service to use to store them.

We seem, however, to have completely bypassed the debate over WHETHER to use electronic records.

It will surprise no one that I say not to use them at all. To have information available is to have it stolen or misused eventually. Period.

Safely in my forties, I have survived quite well without anyone (including me) having electronic and immediate access to my medical records. Don’t let anyone fool you – an emergency room can treat you without having access – they’ve been doing it as long as there have been emergency rooms.

This is a solution looking for a problem.

Lastly, your records are already in electronic form whether you realize it or not. There are tons of insurers in Hartford, CT. Care to bet there aren’t MANY copies of all your records up there?

GREAT post, Ron.

Well leftystrat,  I believe you have hit the nail on the head. Why is there a need for storing our medical records whether it is by Google, Microsoft and anyone? How secure will the storage of the information be? Who will have access to the information?  What assurances will we have that this information will not be used against us, i.e. using family history to prevent someone from getting medical insurance, or life insurance and so forth?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Kaiser Patients Rejoice! Microsoft Is Getting Your Health Records

Microsoft wants to get into the health record storage business with their system called ‘HealthVault.’ One of the first major clients will be Kaiser Permanente, in a pilot program. In an article from Reuters it states:

Data kept in Kaiser’s personal health records, which includes patients’ test results, prescriptions and immunizations, will be shifted to Microsoft’s HealthVault, a Web-based service that allows patients to store and manage medical data from a variety of websites and selectively share information with them, the paper reported.

Moves by technology companies, hospitals, insurers and the government to give patients more control and access to their medical information through technology are expected to help lower healthcare costs, it said.

With both Google and Microsoft going into the health care records business, it makes one wonder. Why? Are both these companies so loving and caring that they are concerned about you and I?

What do you think is their real motive?

Comments welcome.


Would You Use Google Health [Beta] ?

Most of us are aware that Google has been talking about having a health Web site, in which we can store our health data. So now that Google is offering the service for free, I went to take a look at the site. It is very inclusive and is easy to navigate and to set up a profile. Google’s site states:

About Google Health

Google Health allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place. And it’s completely free. All you need to get started is a Google username and password.

Google believes that you own your medical records and should have easy access to them. The way we see it, it’s your information; why shouldn’t you control it?

  • Keep your doctors up-to-date
  • Stop filling out the same paperwork every time you see a new doctor
  • Avoid getting the same lab tests done over and over again because your doctor cannot get copies of your latest results
  • Don’t lose your medical records because of a move, change in jobs or health insurance

Though I believe Google has done a great job setting up the health site and states that your medical data will be safe, what do you think about storing this information online?

Comments welcome.

Google site is here.

Google And Your Health Records

Google announced yesterday its involvement in an agreement with a Cleveland Clinic to start the storing of medical data for patients on a test basis. The pilot program will involve the storage of medical data, which will be available to all those who agree to participate in the program. Google on its blog states the following information:

This week, we hit another important milestone. We launched a pilot with a medical institution committed to giving patients access to their own medical records: The Cleveland Clinic. A large academic medical center, Cleveland is one of the first partners to integrate on our platform. Because of their size and reach with patients who already have access to their medical records online, Cleveland has been a great partner for us to test out our data sharing model. Patients participating in the Cleveland pilot give authorization via our AuthSub interface to have their electronic medical records safely and securely imported into a Google account. It’s great to see our product getting into the hands of end users, and I look forward to the feedback that the Cleveland patients will provide us.

Cleveland is just the first of many healthcare providers that will securely send medical records and information via Google APIs at your request. We’ve been hard at work collaborating with a number of insurance plans, medical groups, pharmacies and hospitals. While this pilot is open initially to just a few thousand patients, I see it as an important first step to show how Google can help users get access to their medical records and take charge of their health information.

The pilot program will include the ability for patients to access their medical information on the Internet. Though it was clear the type of security measures being taken, one would hope that the records would be secure. But will they be?

What’s your take? Would you allow your medical records to be accessed on the Internet?

Comments welcome.

Full Google blog article is here.

E-Health Records May Be In Our Future

A bill being proposed before Congress would set up a new system to handle our medical records electronically. It seems that the proposal will attempt to entice doctors to submit patient information to a E-Trust which will contain patient records that are going to follow us through out our lives. The hope is that this may provide more medical data to doctors while at the same time protecting patients rights. The article also states that:

The Independent Health Record Trust Act, which was introduced into Congress in mid-July by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and on last count this week has bi-partisan support from 49 House members, aims to create independent health record trusts, or IHRTs, that would manage the electronic medical records of patients upon voluntary participation by consumers signing up for these electronic accounts.

The IHRTs would be allowed to generate revenue through charging consumers and other participants account and transaction fees, as well as from the sale of information to third parties, such as researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

However, as an incentive for doctors to use and contribute data to the trust, health care providers would not be charged fees for accessing the trust’s data. On top of that, doctors could also be financially rewarded for submitting authorized patient data to the trust through “sharing” the trust’s revenue. The “revenue sharing” with doctors would be non-taxable income for the physicians, another benefit.

Under the proposal, the records managed by the trust would “travel” with the individual through life, and not be controlled or owned by any particular health care provider, employer, payer, or other party.

I think after reading the proposal, the first thing that came to my mind is how secure is this data going to be? Not that I don’t trust the feds! LOL. Hopefully this will be a benefit and not a sore spot for all of us.

Full article here.
[tags]e-health, records, feds, [/tags]

Stealing ID From The Dead – Update

I received a comment from Rick Weldon who provided me with a link to do a search of people who are deceased. See here.

So I tested the system to see how accurate it was. I checked for both my father and also my step mother who are both deceased.  Not only did I receive a correct name match, but also their date of births, social security numbers, dates of death, county and state where recorded, last known county of residence and the state where their social security number was issued.

To say I was surprised at the information I received with just one simple search is to put it mildly.

Check for yourself and see what you find.

Comments welcome.

I’m going to do some more research since I saw some other links on the site.

Thanks Rick for sharing this with us. I am totally amazed that it was that simple.

[tags]id theft, dead, records, simple, search, [/tags]

Radio Shack – Dumps Thousands Of Customer Records In Dumspter – Texas Sues

It wasn’t bad enough that a Radio Shack store dumped thousands of customer records in a dumpster, but the information contained not only personal information of the customers but also social security and credit/debit card information as well. The Attorney Generals office for the State Of Texas has filed a suit against Radio Shack which is based in Fort Worth which alleges the records dumping was in violation of state statute.

One of the fines carries a penalty of $50,000 which amounts to a slap on the wrist for a company that owns over 4500 stores in the US. Isn’t it time that penalties be increased to reflect the seriousness of carelessly deposing of such a treasure trove of information that could of potentially fallen into the hands of criminals?

What is annoying about this is that no matter how hard we consumers try to protect our personal information, we have ‘idiots’ in control who don’t have the brains given to a pigeon, who have access to our records. This is disturbing following the break in a TJ Maxx which I had just reported which further supports the notion that we consumers need to speak up more and force all companies, big or small, to better secure our personal data.

I am sure we all agree that data theft and identity theft have taken on a more important part of our daily lives in that we all recognize that this crime has now reached epidemic proportions and that all of us are being exposed in some way or another. But what really is starting to become irritating is the fact that no one really seems to care. There is so much money being spent by consumers who charge purchases on their debit or credit cards, that even the banking system appears to have accepted data loss as a necessary evil that is beyond their control.

What do you think? Are we all doomed to a life where our identities are up for sale to the highest bidder?

Comments welcome.

Press article from the Texas State Attorneys Office here.

[tags]radio shack, records, dumpster, identity theft, privacy,  [/tags]

Email Migration Pain

I’m in the process of moving my email for the domain to a new mail server, and I’ve realized – once again – just how complicated spammers have made our lives. Especially from a technical standpoint.

PTR records in DNS and RBL records on services that no one ever heard of and which have no set rules to determine what gets on the list or how to engage them in getting off a list. What a mess. Luckily I am not on any RBL lists (with the exception of one idiotic one that everyone seems to be on, and which I certainly hope no one ever uses). But I have friends and acquaintances who have been in that boat before and it’s not fun.

But the biggest pain with moving a mail server has to be DNS propagation and the wrenches people throw into it. Enough time has passed that all locations should be pointing to the new mail server, because the old DNS records have expired. Yet there are a significant number of (large and prominent) email and Internet service providers (including my own) that are apparently caching longer than the record provides. Fun. That means I am checking two mail servers (and that’s a bit of a challenge, let me tell you), and that I cannot send email to pretty much anyone until the planets align and the name server records line up.

Even my web site still has a few bots and spiders and other systems munging through it. I wonder if they’ll notice when I turn it off?

One other thing I have observed. The spammers also don’t respect caching of DNS records, but in the opposite manner. Instead of caching a record for too long, they completely ignore the cache settings to make sure they can flood your new mail server with as much crap as possible, as quickly as possible.

Ah, gotta love it!

[tags]DNS, spam, caching, name server, records, nuisance, email migration, greg hughes[/tags]