This week my medical group sent me an email inviting me to click a link to get online web access to my medical records and more. Let’s think about that. They thought I would click a link … in an email. Just that by itself is a bad assumption, but better yet a link where I’d be giving access to my medical records? Right. The only reason I was vaguely interested was that my medical group had given me a heads up a month or so ago that I should expect to get this email. I still wasn’t going to click a link in email though.
I navigated by hand to find out if this service was real. It turned out it was, but you’ll never believe what they offered me next. They offered to let me log in using Facebook! Are they kidding me? But no, they weren’t kidding. I could have used Yahoo or Google or Microsoft logins too, which are only slightly less terrifying than using Facebook.
That got me thinking about the next step in this. Can you picture logging into your healthcare site with your Facebook login and then later they offer you an app on your smart phone? Sure, that’s the next logical step. And now imagine the privacy agreement on the app. Do you approve Facebook to contact your doctor on your behalf? How about submitting medical information? Can it use your camera to take a picture of that weird mole on your back and post it for you? Would you like to compete in a Facebook challenge on your cholesterol levels? Do you agree that Facebook can change its privacy policies on these and other usages of your data without written notice? Say Yes, or Yes Please!
I posted about this (on Facebook) and my friend Paul Wilson wrote “I can just see it now the software posts the results of my colonoscopy on Facebook. Yeah I bet I would get a lot of likes.” Absolutely! I would totally post “great work on the cleanse, Paul!”
In all seriousness though, the service, called FollowMyHealth is actually pretty cool. I can see things like my blood pressure for the last so many visits, and what medications I’m on. Even better, it was really interesting to find out that I’m in stage 3 kidney failure. Um, what? Not that I’d wish an error like that, but without this online system I wouldn’t have known they had that in there. And who knows what medications I might have been denied in an emergency because they thought it would conflict with my kidney medication? Because the system exists, I was able to send a message through the system to my doctor that said,
Just signed up for the “new and improved” Follow My Health online program. Working pretty well but under my various diagnoses it says: CKD (chronic kidney disease) stage 3. This is news to me – is this maybe a mistake or did I forget some really bad problem I have?
And because my doctor is connected to this system she was able to write back:
I have reviewed your kidney function labs, and they are normal. You do not have chronic kidney disease. I will correct your chart.
What my doctor lacks in bedside manner she makes up in efficiency and brevity.
It’s an interesting topic whether you trust your medical records to the cloud. I’d say without a doubt I wouldn’t click a link in email to enable it, and for the love of all things good in this world I would NOT use my Facebook login to access my records. But overall I think this is a useful, if scary trend in the medical field.