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Medicine DRM The Almighty Buck United Kingdom IT Science

Man Charged £2,000 For Medical Records Stored On Obsolete System 368

Posted by Soulskill
from the boy-that-costs-a-ton dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In Britain, where it is custom and practice to charge around £10 for a copy of your medical results, a patient has discovered that his copy will cost him £2,000 because the records are stored on an obsolete system that the current IT systems cannot access. Can this be good for patient care if no-one can access records dating back from a previous filing system? Perhaps we need to require all current systems to store data in a way that is vendor independent, and DRM-free, too?"
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Man Charged £2,000 For Medical Records Stored On Obsolete System

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  • What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nighthawk243 (2557486) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:46PM (#41912227)
    Who the hell decided to not do the format conversion when they phased out the old system?
  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:47PM (#41912241) Homepage

    Why should the patient have to pay 200 times as much money to access records when the difficulty isn't his fault?

    The company that was incompetent and stored things in an inefficient manner should cover the cost. Charging this incompetence to the patient shouldn't be legal.

  • by MoonRabbit (596371) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:48PM (#41912255) Homepage
    The last thing I want to hear at my doctor's office is "we're getting a new computer system."
  • by InvisibleClergy (1430277) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:49PM (#41912265)

    So instead of having migration costs, just charge your customers for your migration! Think about it - if you go to the bank, the teller tells you that it will cost you $2,000 to withdraw money because the system in which they store your account info is still on Windows ME! It sounds glorious. I am doing this immediately.

    Oh, wait, no. I only work on ancient systems. Whoops.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:54PM (#41912325)

    So 1 person has some trouble getting some old files vs our current system where we let folks with cancer die.

    Yeah, what a terrible tradeoff.

  • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:55PM (#41912341) Homepage Journal

    Accountants.
    At least, if it's like any other large conversion I have been through.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:05PM (#41912471)

    You've failed to mention that both systems will let folks with cancer die. Socialist medicine has proven to fail (Canada), and the steps we've taken towards it in USA have failed (Obamacare is causing all small and medium sized hospitals to go bankrupt - mine only survived because it is the largest one within a few hundred miles). People will die no matter what - it's just a matter of how much free stuff we give to people who don't work for it before they die. Somebody has to pay for it (before you say "government", where does gov't get its money? That's right, it's your money and my money).

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#41912531)

    I disagree with your claim that it has failed in Canada.
    It appears to be working fine, for an good example check out life expectancies.

    People always die, selecting who lives based on who has the most money is immoral.

    I pay my taxes happily, in the knowledge that they buy me the civilization I expect. That is the entire point.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:23PM (#41912665)

    We could easily come up with the cash. I imagine canceling a war or two might pay for it? Or maybe we could limit ourselves to only 2x as many aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined.

    Tax load is not 70% in Canada.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:28PM (#41912733)

    Socialist medicine has proven to fail (Canada).

    Failed at what. Every Canadian I've every spoken to loves there health cares system. Every American I know hates ours. The only people who think Canada failed are drug and insurance companies. The US system is insanely expansive for what little it provides. Who do you think is getting that extra money? Now you know exactly who is fighting to prevent the system from improving.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:29PM (#41912749)

    See, this is the sort of BS we have to deal with in the USA.

    We have an entire political party that makes the claims that jackass spouted.

  • Oh, and don't forget that the government tax load in Canada is more like 70% of your income. That is what it is going to take here as well, if not more. With the local taxes and state taxes added in you may find yourself getting 10% of your gross pay as take-home.

    I was with you up until here.

    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html [cra-arc.gc.ca]

    So worst case scenario (where you're making over $150,000/yr in Nova Scotia -- where you can live comfortably on $50,000/yr), you're paying around 36% total in income taxes and 10% sales tax. Most people are paying closer to 28% income tax and 12% sales tax.

    Even if you had to pay sales tax on everything you earned/payed out and were the richest Canadian living in the worst possible location, you'd only be paying 60% of your money to the government -- and this implies you're making 4 figures or more (hint, you likely have enough money to have a team of accountants find you all sorts of tax dodges so you don't have to pay more than around 28%).

    After deferred savings/donations/various rebates, I think 25% is a more average actual taxation level in Canada 1/4 of income, not 3/4 to 9/10.

    And yet the medical system still functions. The only reason people think it's failing is that all the baby boomers are getting old and dying, so both the US and Canada are suddenly losing a significant portion of the population controlling the wealth of the nations year-over-year.

    Hey... I have family members happily living healthy productive lives in their 90's thanks to Canadian Medicare, as well as relatives who are dealing with conditions that would have impoverished them had they lived in the US -- and they're still giving back to society through both taxes and increasing GDP.

  • by sdguero (1112795) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:03PM (#41913109)
    I don't think your statement is accurate about uninsured cancer patients. My roommate is a cardiologist (obviously he doesn't treat cancer patients very often but I believe this still applies) and he is adamant that patients in the current system (at least at UCSD medical center in San Diego, a very nice hospital system) receive the same care independent of their insurance status. It may destroy the patients finances and force them into bankruptcy, but not having health insurance doesn't mean hospitals won't treat you. Now if a cancer patient doesn't have insurance, and doesn't want to lose their house for their treatment, they may choose to go the painkiller route (having seen friends and family go through cancer treatment, this is the route I would likely choose), but they can certainly choose to bury themselves in debt before they die if they want too.

    I think the "non-treatment" fallacy is a big mis-truth that supporters of public healthcare covet and really don't understand... Just because you don't have insurance doesn't mean you won't be treated for your problem. In my limited experience, the quality of care is more dependent on the facility than whether or not the patent is insured. And in many cases, uninsured patients may actually pay less due to their financial situation than an insured patients pays for a deductible.

    Since this post is getting long I might as well say that I think lawyers are the problem, not privatized healthcare. Something like 50% of the private practice expenses go to malpractice insurance, hospitals pay an amazing amount of money towards it as well. Limiting the amount of money people could sue hospitals and doctors for (say $500,000 or something more more reasonable than the current infinity dollars) would go a long way to reducing the cost of health care and insurance. Unfortunately the lawyers that litigate those cases hold a lot of sway in the US political system. They are chomping at the bit to start suing the government backed/regulated/mandated insurance schemes that are coming into effect with obamacare.
  • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:20PM (#41913331) Homepage Journal
    I'd take Britain's system over here in the US where paramedics check to see if you have a valid insurance card before they check your pulse
    Saying a thing doesn't make it true.
  • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:13AM (#41916849) Homepage

    I'd take Britain's system over here in the US where paramedics check to see if you have a valid insurance card before they check your pulse

    Saying a thing doesn't make it true.

    I've been in the Stanford Hospital ER when my wife delivered.

    I say a mother and her son walk in, the boy was literally covered in blood and dripping blood rapidly. They were promptly taken to the secretary where the boy had to wait patiently for the mother to validate health insurance with the nice lady on the other side of the desk.

    Then, the hospital lady looked somewhere behind her and made a sign. The paramedics rushed in with a stretcher, got the boy and took care of him. Some cleaning dude came in almost instantly after to mop the blood.

    I'm still wondering to this day what would have happened if the mother would have forgotten her insurance papers or anything else. Would they have let the boy die in there? Probably not, but I suspect that it would have been because of the bad PR this could have generated, nothing else.

  • Re:What a fuckup (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poolecl (170874) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:29AM (#41917101)
    He is looking for a copy of an ultrasound that was done in 2004. It doesn't seem unreasonable to expect that records that are only 8 years old remain accessible.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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