Shouldn't share information

I have been a patient at Central Maine Medical Center and have been for the past 10 years. I am writing this to inform others who are treated at CMMC that the hospital is involved in a program that automatically shares a patient's health information with other providers through a system called HealthInfoNet. It is supposed to make seeing other doctors easier, so they have the most up-to-date information.

Not only was I not made aware of this new program by the staff at the hospital, I had to take myself off the list.

Nearly everyone I have talked to had no idea their privacy was being compromised.

Not only are the records being shared with other providers, but to do so without a person's permission seems backward to me.

I have always been honest with my medical care providers and I wish to receive the same in return.

As a patient, I believe it is against my rights to automatically sign me up for a program I never wished to be part of.

Doctors are not gods; they make mistakes and unfortunately mistakes could follow patients around from provider to provider. As part of the residency program, I know that all too well.

Jessica Hutchinson, Auburn

Editor's note: According to a CMMC spokesman, when a patient comes to the hospital for care, they receive a Notice of Privacy document that explains HealthInfoNet is an opt-out program, including instructions about how patients can opt out. If a patient doesn't opt out, they are, by default, opted in. According to the hospital, patient information is shared only among HealthInfoNet participants, and users must have a valid reason for accessing patient information.

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Comments

Douglas Mac antSaior's picture

Hate to break it to you, but

Hate to break it to you, but it's awful hard to tell first responders mid-stroke where your magical shoebox full 'o med records is. Also, they neither care nor have time for looking through your cell to find medical information. Your next of kin will be able to find your cell in the bag of belongings they pick up at security.

Allisa Milliard's picture

my daughter was born in

my daughter was born in bangor and saw several specialists in that area. we have since moved down here, and she has doctors in lewiston and portland. trying to get all the doctors all the info they need from each other took almost 3 years, many "lost" faxes, and 2 trips to bangor to portland and back we finally are all up to date. i now get copies of every visit for myself in case someone wants some info that i can send myself. i have always been concerned about long distance trips because of the nightmare an accident could cause. infonet is such a good idea to keep doctors in the loop, and easy for another hospital to get much needed info in the case of an emergency. i like it.

 's picture

healthnet

So you live in one area of the state, travel to another area, have a serious medical problem that needs immediate intervention. Oh let's not forget the 30 medications you take for your 16 medical problems, and the 10 allergies you have. Would you like the medical providers to know about these quickly or would you like them to call your doctors office, (oops that went into the voice mail because the staff was busy), wait for the records to show up on the fax, then the clerk brings them to your treatment room, hopefully while your still alive, or the provider can look you up in a few seconds thus assuring you timely treatment and a better, and quicker recovery. This is a no brainer. Oh and this an effort coordinated at the state level, not by hospital systems. Having seen this work first hand, this system is excellent. I hope those of you who have opted out reconsider for your own sake.

 's picture

If you have ever reviewed your records this would alarm you!

I had not been informed of this during my stay at CMMC either. After reading the letter I immediately called CMMC and was referred to a PR person Gerry Mower and of course got voice mail. What getting of this has to do with PR is beyond me except it probably will cut into CMMCs bottom line. I did not get a call back so tried again requesting this individual only to get voice mail again. After waiting and several more attempts I hit 0 and got someone else who said I need to talk to this PR person and I explained that made no sense to me I wanted off this system. She wanted to get my name and number and track down someone and call me back and I insisted on holding since I now had no trust in getting a call back. I was transferred to medical records. Then I was told I would be put back in the que and to hit 3. That person said they had nothing to do with healthinfonet. Finally I got someone who said I had to go to HealthInfoNet's website to get out of the system. The URL is Hinfonet.org. Go to the bottom of the page and there is a big button to opt out. Fill out the form and it is supposed to be done. Do I trust it. HELL NO! I will be calling healthinfonet tomorrow to make sure I have been deleted. I get copies of everything from my doctors to keep in my files to take when needed. I review everything for accuracy and demand corrections be made when there are errors. It is amazing how a simple injury or minor surgery in your past reported to new doctor can become a major mental health condition when transcribed in a medical record and if you don't catch it and fix it will follow you for ever. A cut can become cancer which will run your insurability etc. Try to track down and get fixed all the data transfers when an error occurs in something like this healthinfonet is a disaster waiting to happen. You though identity theft was bad, huh you aint seen nothing yet.

 's picture

If you have ever reviewed your records this would alarm you!

I had not been informed of this during my stay at CMMC either. After reading the letter I immediately called CMMC and was referred to a PR person Gerry Mower and of course got voice mail. What getting of this has to do with PR is beyond me except it probably will cut into CMMCs bottom line. I did not get a call back so tried again requesting this individual only to get voice mail again. After waiting and several more attempts I hit 0 and got someone else who said I need to talk to this PR person and I explained that made no sense to me I wanted off this system. She wanted to get my name and number and track down someone and call me back and I insisted on holding since I now had no trust in getting a call back. I was transferred to medical records. Then I was told I would be put back in the que and to hit 3. That person said they had nothing to do with healthinfonet. Finally I got someone who said I had to go to HealthInfoNet's website to get out of the system. The URL is Hinfonet.org. Go to the bottom of the page and there is a big button to opt out. Fill out the form and it is supposed to be done. Do I trust it. HELL NO! I will be calling healthinfonet tomorrow to make sure I have been deleted. I get copies of everything from my doctors to keep in my files to take when needed. I review everything for accuracy and demand corrections be made when there are errors. It is amazing how a simple injury or minor surgery in your past reported to new doctor can become a major mental health condition when transcribed in a medical record and if you don't catch it and fix it will follow you for ever. A cut can become cancer which will run your insurability etc. Try to track down and get fixed all the data transfers when an error occurs in something like this healthinfonet is a disaster waiting to happen. You though identity theft was bad, huh you aint seen nothing yet.

Jamie Noel's picture

"doctor shopping"

Anyone who has been seeing the same doctor for a period of time will tell you "doctor shopping" is at time very necessary. Doctors, just like people, form opinions and treat you based on their opinions. Often times their opinion is wrong and they dont think outside the box. So you end up seeing your doctor twice a month to get the proper diagnosis. Everyone should doctor shop when it becomes obvious that your doctor is not helping you and only treating what he thinks you need.

I was never "doctor shopping"

I was never "doctor shopping" if you read my article you would see that I've been a patient there for 10 years and I NEVER signed a paper to be involved in the program. There was no paper to be signed you were automatically put in the program. Maybe you should read what's right in front of you before you voice your ignorant opinion. I'm not going to sue them I never said that the purpose to is make other people AWARE that CMMC is doing this and you need to sign a paper to OPT OUT you are automatically put on the program.

Douglas Mac antSaior's picture

Even information shared in

Even information shared in HealthinfoNot is covered by HIPPA. It's still treated as confidential information and only professionals with a need to know have access.

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