Angry Doctor

Friday, December 16, 2005

Normoglycaemic in New York

If you think some of the bogus stories I come up with are ridiculous, you should read this real-life story


Keeping track of diabetics in NY

NEW YORK — New York has adopted a health code regulation that will make it the first American city to keep track of people with diabetes in much the same way it does with patients infected with HIV or tuberculosis.

The city will occasionally use its database to prod diabetics to take better care of themselves.

The policy breaks new ground because it involves the collection of information about people who have a disease that is neither contagious nor caused by an environmental toxin.

New York's health commissioner, Dr Thomas R Frieden, said on Wednesday that the programme's potential to save thousands of lives outweighs what it gives up in medical privacy. "We will ensure that the utmost care will be taken to keep people's privacy and information protected," he said.

I don't think I could have come up with a better bogus story.



  • and it is entirely possible that such health information will be "shared" with third parties such as insurance companies, much like how our phone numbers and addresses gets picked up by call-sales people in banks and card companies. except in this case, the person affected will find himself suddenly being turned down for selected policies and getting other plans marketted to him/her. just imagine, you can't get that housing loan because the insurance companies won't sell you that term insurance due to your health profile which some hospital/clinic "shared" with others in the misguided notion of promoting health awareness. what's the next step? what about genetic profiling of every newborn child? it's easy, just look at how aggressively they are at promoting the storage of cord blood, at least 2 companies called me up to offer that option for my baby girl. so what happens if they find a marker gene that indicates a higher risk for certain diseases? my kid will be marked for life.

    The advent of a Brave New World has begun and we're none the wiser...

    By Blogger andrew, At December 17, 2005 10:17 am  

  • My view is that a person's health only becomes a public issue because of pooled risk, be it through state-subsidised healthcare, or insurance. If you are going to pay for everything yourself, nobody will care what you do.

    I am sure you have seen enough of people who do not take care of their own health and thus consume more healthcare than others. Is it fair for the rest then?

    As for insurance, the clincher is not whether THEY know you have diabetes, but whether YOU know.

    If you know and don't tell them, it's non-disclosure and the policy will be void anyway. That's why doctors need to write medical reports.

    (There was a recent case when a man was diagnosed of hypertension but did not follow up, and when he got a stroke the CPF/insurance got a medical report and it was reported and he couldn't claim or something like that.)

    Anyway, I think that to be fair to the insurance companies, they should be able to decide the premium depending on your health. They are a business.

    By Blogger angry doc, At December 17, 2005 10:31 am  

  • and a business they remain. i think too many people get emotional about how insurance companies "desert" them at the crucial hour.

    you've brought up a good reminder.

    insurance companies are business entities and if they can't make profit out of it or if they can find a legal way of denying claims then it's nobody's fault.

    what i don't like is to have my biodata running around without my consent or knowledge. you know how irritating it is to have cold-calls in the middle of dinner, from companies whom i hardly deal with...

    By Blogger andrew, At December 17, 2005 10:46 am  

  • I think having a 'personalised' premium is fairer overall. Otherwise they will price it to cover the highest-risk individuals.

    I assume buffet places charge at a price that will cover gluttons too. :)

    In the local context, the issue of e-sharing of medical records is still being debated in the medical circle, but it seems the political will is that it will carry through.

    By Blogger angry doc, At December 17, 2005 10:55 am  

  • do keep us updated on the inside information about the e-sharing of medical data, we'd all be interested to know.

    like you said, it'll probably be carried through for organizational efficiency and all that.

    the good side of sharing info really is a much smoother process when a person visits different agencies. one good example is the address updating system, one visit to the police post and that's it, i don't have to worry about IRAS or SAF sending stuff to my old place.

    the flip side is of course the worry about who and what people do with such a vast and detailed amount of info. i had been privileged enough to handle such information and i tell you, it's scary when i thought about it at night on the mischief that i can do with it. i suspect most of us don't about it but one of the pivotal links in our banking matters are the bank tellers, you don't want to know what they can potentially do to our accounts...

    anyway, thinking about the Brave New World is distressing enough, i gotta get back to finishing my thesis


    By Blogger andrew, At December 18, 2005 2:32 pm  

  • I am waiting for the 2005 issue of SMC In-Touch Newsletter to come out in electronic form so I can link to it and comment.

    There's quite a bit of the e-sharing on that by Chee Yam Cheng.

    By Blogger angry doc, At December 18, 2005 7:17 pm  

  • Well, I do not actually imagine it is likely to have effect.
    check | check | check

    By Anonymous Enoch, At July 18, 2012 1:18 pm  

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