What if everyone opts out? America has a love hate relationship with the Internet. On the one hand we love getting our information right now, on the other we can’t stand the invasion of privacy that comes with it.
Health Information Exchanges are experiencing the same love hate relationships with patients. As the exchanges are being formed the patient privacy issues and policy making on opting in or opting out are front and center. Besides consolidating patient records for accessibility, exchanges have the potential to improve the public health and public health activities. The sheer volume of exchange data could be used in physician base diagnoses, diseased-based non-reportable laboratory data, public health surveillances, and population-level quality monitoring.
But what if everyone opts out? We all want the benefits that come from monitoring user habits on Google. We all need the potential benefits that come from the collection of populations of clinical data. When people choose to opt out are they really looking at the bigger picture?