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This past summer Dr. Ira Nash decided to have a cardiac monitor the size of a USB stick implanted into his chest. After living with a heart condition for years, the 59-year-old New York cardiologist decided he wanted a better window into his health. The implant, he knew, would generate a detailed, real-time portrait of his heart’s behavior.

He went forward with the surgery, and as he was lying in the hospital recovering, he asked a technician who worked for the device’s maker, Medtronic, how he could get access to the data. He was shocked by the response: Patients aren’t allowed to see device data.


“Why would you ever separate a patient from his or her health information?” Nash told STAT, reflecting on that moment. “It’s like hiding someone’s blood pressure from them. It just doesn’t make sense.”

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  • Reading everyone’s comments, I do agree patients are entitled to their infor mation. Hospitals are beginning to do just that by installing computer systems that give patients access to online results. I am sure physician’s offices are annoyed with the numerous calls they receive asking what everything means. There certainly is a number of docs who are arrogant and self-important. An example is the ankle specialist I saw. He looked at the x-ray for a few minutes, told me he is putting me in a boot (which went to my knee-overkill for $250), and walked out. An MA walked in, put the boot on-me, and left. Later I had a question about his choice of boot (ankle ones are available) and why it did not have an arch support in it since a tendon for that support was involved. I asked if he would call me. I was told HE does not make calls to his patients!! Seriously!!! I fired him. I put my own arch support in the boot and it worked out fine.

  • This is EXACTLY why the medical profession is headed for the cliff. As in Crash and Burn. The arrogant self-importance of this industry is mind-boggling at times. And if you think this attitude is isolated, the medical profession kills…like in DEAD…over 400k every year in the U.S. alone from Medical Errors. I just wrote a book about it. I blog about it.

    • The most significant mentor of my life, a psychiatrist for many years told me over thirty years ago that I have to remember, and never forget that your doctor could kill you too! Years of supervision were often about this topic. One of the reasons why I decided not to become an MD, although I attended a medical school for my post grad degree(s), as I obtained more than one from the university. I was committed to the psychology option and others that were related to this degree. I didn’t want to have to flay open a corpse at 2:00 am! I wanted to be a psychotherapist first and always.

      With that said, I think that the time for full disclosure of any and all records of anyone is something that we are all entitled to receive if we want our records.

  • Patients have been fighting this paternalism for years #givememyDAMdata. I am the only one who is going to coordinate and monitor my care from day to day. Nobody else is going to pay that much attention, collect accompanying data about how I feel and when my symptoms emerge, and learn from my individual disease about its characteristics and likely trajectory.

    Data about me (DAM) is legally my property unless I’ve signed it away. I should have first access to it and the ability to decide who can access it. First and foremost, the medical industry should not erect propriety barriers to obtaining and sharing DAM.

    • Marjorie, I concur with your insight about the patient being able to access ones own health records. I know exactly how and why my body is effected by whatever situation is the contributing factor for myself, whilst experiencing what I am at the time. My personal physician is an awesome researcher too, and is more happy than not when the health care treatment is a dual effort between the physician and the patient. I still go to see him in a state that is thousands of miles from home in New England; he is worth the airline ticket and some.

    • Marjorie,

      The courts have ruled that the Medical Record file, itself, belongs to the physician or hospital, but the information in that file belongs to the patient. I know that sounds like double-talk, but that is how it is worded. I have read the court opinion myself. I do not have it in front of me, but I have it. I have been researching the medical profession for two years. So, if someone had the money and the desire, they could probably sue to get the information in his/her file within a day or two of a patient visit.

  • The medical profession in general has always maintained, even required, the employees not ever share test results, or any other data with patients, unless authorized by the patient’s physician. As an over 40 yr professional in medical laboratory science, patients commonly do not understand what certain results mean. If misconstrued, the patient may suffer undue anxiety. In some cases, the physician will allow the information knowing the patient’s understanding of the data.

    • It is ridiculas to assume that because some people wouldn’t understand the data that everyone is to be denied their data, no one is a better steward of my health, than I am. People should be educated as to what their data means, not to involve them,is sheer arrogance.

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