U.S FIRM TO HAVE ALL YOUR HEALTH DETAILS

Wirral Globe: THROUGH THE DOOR: The PCT postcard telling of the change THROUGH THE DOOR: The PCT postcard telling of the change

EVERY adult in Wirral is to be unwittingly signed up to a privately-run telephone health advice line by the local Primary Care Trust.

Anyone who received a blue and white postcard through their letter boxes last week mentioning the proposed Wirral Keep Well scheme will now have their private health information stored “in a safe, secure environment” by an American-owned private call centre firm based in Boston, Massachusetts.

To ensure your information is not shared you must write to your GP practice manager telling them you want to opt out within two weeks of receiving the card, it says.

The scheme is also to include a second ‘opt out’ opportunity of NOT sharing your name and phone number with US-firm Health Dialog, which is wholly owned by Bupa.

Leah Fraser, Conservative councillor for Liscard, told the Globe: “This is the first stage of a plan by an American company to obtain as much data as possible about patients in Wirral.

“Contact which is traditionally between a patient and their GP will, increasingly, be replaced by a call to an unknown operator, in a US-based company with access to your private medical records. Given the Govern-ment’s appalling track record of handling sensitive personal data, I’m not hopeful. This development makes it more difficult for patients to control who does, and doesn’t, have access to their personal records.

“This project is loaded with risk and poses a far bigger threat to the patient-GP relationship than the creation of polyclinics.”

Several readers who received the postcards last week contacted the Globe wondering how the PCT had managed to obtain their personal details.

One patient, from Moreton, said: “I’m amazed that this is an ‘opt out’ rather than an ‘opt in’ service. The postcard says people have just a fortnight to opt out from this scheme, but what happens if people are away on holiday? The postcard looks like junk mail. I get the feeling they’re trying to sleepwalk people into signing up to something they don’t necessarily want.”

Another reader, a working mum from Leasowe, said: “Why be so sneaky about it? They’re asking us to share our private details with people over the phone but there is little or no information about why. When I tried to contact the helpline given the people on the other end were very nice but clearly in the dark themselves.”

The Globe also contacted the Wirral Keep Well helpline. When we asked what it was for, the call centre worker said: “To make people on Wirral better.” Then she admitted that she and her colleagues had very little more information to give callers.

The PCT insists that the initial health data it wants to share with Health Dialog would be “unidentifiable” and “cannot be linked directly back to you”.

But the second part of the same postcard then advises people not wanting to share their names and phone numbers to opt out in writing to their GP.

Privacy is also a concern after a number of Government blunders pinnacling in the Inland Revenue lost disks fiasco last year that saw the details of 25 million people misplaced.

The Globe put a number of detailed questions to Wirral PCT, but instead of direct answers we received only a press release extolling the hoped-for virtues of the Wirral Keep Well plan, which they said had been trialled successfully in Norfolk and Surrey.

A spokeswoman said the main basis for the ‘opt out’ approach, which she said was based on Queen’s Counsel advice, is to maximise the number of patients who could benefit from the new service.

Comments (22)

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11:53am Wed 23 Jul 08

Apprehensive says...

Did Wirral PCT expect confrontation? Is that why we have an opt-out situation and not an opt-in? If this is not the case then what was the reason?
Did Wirral PCT expect confrontation? Is that why we have an opt-out situation and not an opt-in? If this is not the case then what was the reason? Apprehensive
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Wed 23 Jul 08

whatdotheythinkweare says...

I for 1 will most definately be writing to my GP practice, and I have also sent an email to all my friends/family telling them to do the same.

Blank copy as shown below if you wish to use it, cut and paste it into WORD, print and send.
____________________
____________







FAO: The Practice Manager






I have received the blue ‘junk-mail’ looking leaflet delivered via Royal Mail regarding the new Well Wirral Service, stating I need to opt out of the scheme.

Please note that all persons listed below whom are resident at the above address wish to opt-out of both parts of the scheme; the health details and the personal name/address details.

During a time when digital information security is so lax, even by official organisations, we would feel more secure knowing our data was limited to your establishment only.

Please do not share any of our details, identifiable or otherwise, with any outside services unless specific permissions has been granted in writing by ourselves.

Yours faithfully,




____________________
___________
(End of cut/paste section)
I for 1 will most definately be writing to my GP practice, and I have also sent an email to all my friends/family telling them to do the same. Blank copy as shown below if you wish to use it, cut and paste it into WORD, print and send. ____________________ ____________ [Your address here] FAO: The Practice Manager [Your Doctor’s address here] I have received the blue ‘junk-mail’ looking leaflet delivered via Royal Mail regarding the new Well Wirral Service, stating I need to opt out of the scheme. Please note that all persons listed below whom are resident at the above address wish to opt-out of both parts of the scheme; the health details and the personal name/address details. During a time when digital information security is so lax, even by official organisations, we would feel more secure knowing our data was limited to your establishment only. Please do not share any of our details, identifiable or otherwise, with any outside services unless specific permissions has been granted in writing by ourselves. Yours faithfully, [Your list of names here] ____________________ ___________ (End of cut/paste section) whatdotheythinkweare
  • Score: 0

5:06pm Wed 23 Jul 08

whatdotheythinkweare says...

I knew it wouldn't display correctly.... grrrr

Please note, this letter was meant to show "put your address here" at the top, then below Practice Manager "insert your GP's address here", and then at the bottom of letter "insert your list of names here",

I knew it wouldn't display correctly.... grrrr Please note, this letter was meant to show "put your address here" at the top, then below Practice Manager "insert your GP's address here", and then at the bottom of letter "insert your list of names here", whatdotheythinkweare
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Wed 23 Jul 08

Ristin says...

Unfortunately it gets worse than what the actual report says...
As stated the information will be stored on a secure server which will be based on US continental soil. This poses several issues: Firstly, information stored in America will NOT be protected under the Data Protection Act as it is outside UK juristiction. Secondly as it is data contained on US soil it is subject to US federal interception under the auspicies of Anti Terrorism legislation which means faceless people thousands of miles away can snoop through your private information without informing you or the PCT.

It is yet another example how people in positions of power listen to some half baked ideas from marketing people and making decisions regarding peoples information without fully understanding the consequences of their actions.
Unfortunately it gets worse than what the actual report says... As stated the information will be stored on a secure server which will be based on US continental soil. This poses several issues: Firstly, information stored in America will NOT be protected under the Data Protection Act as it is outside UK juristiction. Secondly as it is data contained on US soil it is subject to US federal interception under the auspicies of Anti Terrorism legislation which means faceless people thousands of miles away can snoop through your private information without informing you or the PCT. It is yet another example how people in positions of power listen to some half baked ideas from marketing people and making decisions regarding peoples information without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. Ristin
  • Score: 0

7:52pm Wed 23 Jul 08

Christopher says...

Let me get this right?, if I ring a particular number and say I have a Headache will the American on the phone tell me to take an Asprin!, on the other hand will the Americans ring me and ask if i have had a Headache today, and then suggest that if I do I should take an Asprin, if this is the case I shall put all my Private details on a CD and leave it on the number 38 Bus.

Then the Americans will ring me and tell me that they have found my CD on the 38 Bus and return it with a letter telling me that I will be Arrested for taking Drugs Prescribed by my GP that are Legal in the UK and are Bannned in America, and end up in Guantanamo Bay for the rest of my life.....Interesting
.
Let me get this right?, if I ring a particular number and say I have a Headache will the American on the phone tell me to take an Asprin!, on the other hand will the Americans ring me and ask if i have had a Headache today, and then suggest that if I do I should take an Asprin, if this is the case I shall put all my Private details on a CD and leave it on the number 38 Bus. Then the Americans will ring me and tell me that they have found my CD on the 38 Bus and return it with a letter telling me that I will be Arrested for taking Drugs Prescribed by my GP that are Legal in the UK and are Bannned in America, and end up in Guantanamo Bay for the rest of my life.....Interesting . Christopher
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Wed 23 Jul 08

warescouse says...

This is more erosion of our privacy. To complain to the information commissioner (ICO) about this go to http://www.ico.gov.u
k/ and read more. I believe that opting out of this rather than opting in is disgraceful. Also under the Data Protection Act users should be clearly informed about these sort of things. Not via Junk Mail lookalikes.
This is more erosion of our privacy. To complain to the information commissioner (ICO) about this go to http://www.ico.gov.u k/ and read more. I believe that opting out of this rather than opting in is disgraceful. Also under the Data Protection Act users should be clearly informed about these sort of things. Not via Junk Mail lookalikes. warescouse
  • Score: 0

8:52am Thu 24 Jul 08

johnjones says...

How come other sources have got a different story? Its not a US company its a UK company in Cambridge....they're having BASIC information.... some local radio stations have actually got interviews with the PCT where as the globe didnt...could it be the globe didnt try? Buzz97.1 have got a write up on their website
How come other sources have got a different story? Its not a US company its a UK company in Cambridge....they're having BASIC information.... some local radio stations have actually got interviews with the PCT where as the globe didnt...could it be the globe didnt try? Buzz97.1 have got a write up on their website johnjones
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Thu 24 Jul 08

soozie28 says...

HEALTH DATA PLAN.
Everyone should ring PCT on 08000851547 and complained about the underhanded way this has been done. I thought it was junk mail untill the artical appeared in the Globe. But how many people are thinking 'I can't be bothered to write to my GP' BUT ISN'T THAT JUST WHAT THIS SNEAKY COMMITEE WANTS !!!
HEALTH DATA PLAN. Everyone should ring PCT on 08000851547 and complained about the underhanded way this has been done. I thought it was junk mail untill the artical appeared in the Globe. But how many people are thinking 'I can't be bothered to write to my GP' BUT ISN'T THAT JUST WHAT THIS SNEAKY COMMITEE WANTS !!! soozie28
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Thu 24 Jul 08

M.J.Jones says...

Has the PCT sold this information to Health Dialog? (Note the American spelling.) Or is the PCT going to be paying the American firm for its services? Either way, I'd like to know the amount of money involved. The Trust is very sneaky in making this an opt out process instead of offering the service and encouraging people to opt in if they are interested. Just what are these services anyway? Specially trained nurses will be available at the end of a telephone line to be "Health Coaches" who will support people with chronic conditions - perhaps the PCT is not aware of this, but there are already specially trained nurses called Health Visitors who used to actually visit people at home to offer advice and support. Where have they gone?
Has the PCT sold this information to Health Dialog? (Note the American spelling.) Or is the PCT going to be paying the American firm for its services? Either way, I'd like to know the amount of money involved. The Trust is very sneaky in making this an opt out process instead of offering the service and encouraging people to opt in if they are interested. Just what are these services anyway? Specially trained nurses will be available at the end of a telephone line to be "Health Coaches" who will support people with chronic conditions - perhaps the PCT is not aware of this, but there are already specially trained nurses called Health Visitors who used to actually visit people at home to offer advice and support. Where have they gone? M.J.Jones
  • Score: 0

9:06pm Thu 24 Jul 08

sa6raya says...

I agree with MJ Jones' comments.

I've also checked out the Health Diaglog website: (http://www.healthdi
alog.com/hd/Segments
/Physicians/) and it's not really clear what they actually do or how it will benefit patients. (I just love the buzz words they use "Shared Decision Making" (err?) ). But at what cost?

This won't be a free service - I suspect that there will be a "charge back" based on the calls they receive (so I suspect that data is provided free of charge).

On the face of it it seems to me that this is a "fashionable initiative" on offer (rather like Management Consultants in the 1990s - apologies to those who are/were in this field). And perhaps an equally expensive one.

So ask yourselves
a) why are they (Health Diaglog) helping us?
b) At what cost to you, the tax payer/NHS?
c) What benefit is offered to patients?

Furthermore, we can't be sure that the database is within the UK.

I, for one, have sent a letter to my GP surgery asking to opt out for all family members (thanks to 'whatdotheythinkwear
e' - brilliant!).

As my son pointed out - the mailshot was perfectly timed to coincide with the holiday period. And he's extremely angry - opt-in should have been an option, not the other way around.

I agree with MJ Jones' comments. I've also checked out the Health Diaglog website: (http://www.healthdi alog.com/hd/Segments /Physicians/) and it's not really clear what they actually do or how it will benefit patients. (I just love the buzz words they use "Shared Decision Making" (err?) ). But at what cost? This won't be a free service - I suspect that there will be a "charge back" based on the calls they receive (so I suspect that data is provided free of charge). On the face of it it seems to me that this is a "fashionable initiative" on offer (rather like Management Consultants in the 1990s - apologies to those who are/were in this field). And perhaps an equally expensive one. So ask yourselves a) why are they (Health Diaglog) helping us? b) At what cost to you, the tax payer/NHS? c) What benefit is offered to patients? Furthermore, we can't be sure that the database is within the UK. I, for one, have sent a letter to my GP surgery asking to opt out for all family members (thanks to 'whatdotheythinkwear e' - brilliant!). As my son pointed out - the mailshot was perfectly timed to coincide with the holiday period. And he's extremely angry - opt-in should have been an option, not the other way around. sa6raya
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Thu 24 Jul 08

katrice says...

Actually its all about saving money and keeping the old and vulnerable off GPs backs, heres the evidence
http://www.healthdia
log.co.uk/pdf/commis
sioning_brochure.pdf its all a cost reduction exercise, heres more
http://www.networks.
nhs.uk/uploads/06/12
/combined_predictive
_model_final_report.
pdf and as they say and theres more! http://www.healthdia
log.co.uk/comm.htm, oh and, healthdialog shares were bought up by BUPA in January of this year (private medical insurance) please take the time to read the pdf documents.DH Selling our Medical Records, more here
http://www.nhsconfid
entiality.org/?page=
1 BUPA seem to have been succesful in Australia and some parts of Europe! interesting that the government has already said we have an ageing population, anyone for pensions next! *lol*
if information is randomised then why would they need to ask your permission after all if it really was random data? oh and applications to work as a http://www.staffnurs
e.com/nursing-job-va
cancies/staff-nurse-
bupa-health-dialog-3
0475.html
Actually its all about saving money and keeping the old and vulnerable off GPs backs, heres the evidence http://www.healthdia log.co.uk/pdf/commis sioning_brochure.pdf its all a cost reduction exercise, heres more http://www.networks. nhs.uk/uploads/06/12 /combined_predictive _model_final_report. pdf and as they say and theres more! http://www.healthdia log.co.uk/comm.htm, oh and, healthdialog shares were bought up by BUPA in January of this year (private medical insurance) please take the time to read the pdf documents.DH Selling our Medical Records, more here http://www.nhsconfid entiality.org/?page= 1 BUPA seem to have been succesful in Australia and some parts of Europe! interesting that the government has already said we have an ageing population, anyone for pensions next! *lol* if information is randomised then why would they need to ask your permission after all if it really was random data? oh and applications to work as a http://www.staffnurs e.com/nursing-job-va cancies/staff-nurse- bupa-health-dialog-3 0475.html katrice
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Thu 24 Jul 08

katrice says...

Supporting patients in developing action plans to manage their specific conditions and promote self care

Health Dialog specialise in targeted telephonic health coaching, transferring skills to patients
Situated in Salford Quays
"Facilitates self-reliance"
http://www.healthdia
log.co.uk/healthCoac
hing.htm

Wirral PCT minutes
http://66.102.9.104/
search?q=cache:M5V1L
kDRyZgJ:www.wirralpc
t.nhs.uk/document_up
loads/boarddec07/165
%2520-%2520Agenda%25
20Item%252010.3%2520
-%2520PEC%2520Minute
s%252013-11-07.doc+H
ealth+Dialog+Coaches
&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&
gl=uk


Supporting patients in developing action plans to manage their specific conditions and promote self care Health Dialog specialise in targeted telephonic health coaching, transferring skills to patients Situated in Salford Quays "Facilitates self-reliance" http://www.healthdia log.co.uk/healthCoac hing.htm Wirral PCT minutes http://66.102.9.104/ search?q=cache:M5V1L kDRyZgJ:www.wirralpc t.nhs.uk/document_up loads/boarddec07/165 %2520-%2520Agenda%25 20Item%252010.3%2520 -%2520PEC%2520Minute s%252013-11-07.doc+H ealth+Dialog+Coaches &hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3& gl=uk katrice
  • Score: 0

12:25am Fri 25 Jul 08

JaneS says...

I am going to opt out. Despite being one of the patients clogging up the system. Well, being born with heart defects and having had three heart surgeries so far I've had more than my fair share from the NHS.
It's just that I can't see any of this in a good light yet. The inadequate communication from the PCT didn't help put my mind at rest.
I can imagine phoning for a GP appointment in the future and being asked; "Have you phoned the dialog(ue) nurse. You can't have a GP appointment unless they say you need one".
Maybe I'm being too cynical. I guess we will wait and see, but meanwhile I am opting out until we have better information.
I am going to opt out. Despite being one of the patients clogging up the system. Well, being born with heart defects and having had three heart surgeries so far I've had more than my fair share from the NHS. It's just that I can't see any of this in a good light yet. The inadequate communication from the PCT didn't help put my mind at rest. I can imagine phoning for a GP appointment in the future and being asked; "Have you phoned the dialog(ue) nurse. You can't have a GP appointment unless they say you need one". Maybe I'm being too cynical. I guess we will wait and see, but meanwhile I am opting out until we have better information. JaneS
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Fri 25 Jul 08

whatdotheythinkweare says...

sa6raya, glad i was of help.

Everyone, please feel free to copy this letter and email it to all those this effects. here it is again... better displayed...

Remember there is a time limit on this, so do it asap.
____________________
__________

(Your address here)


FAO: The Practice Manager
(Your Doctor’s address here)


I have received the blue ‘junk-mail’ looking leaflet delivered via Royal Mail regarding the new Well Wirral Service, stating I need to opt out of the scheme.

Please note that all persons listed below whom are resident at the above address wish to opt-out of both parts of the scheme; the health details and the personal name/address details.

During a time when digital information security is so lax, even by official organisations, we would feel more secure knowing our data was limited to your establishment only.

Please do not share any of our details, identifiable or otherwise, with any outside services unless specific permissions has been granted in writing by ourselves.

Yours faithfully,

(Your list of names here)
____________________
___________

I never considered about the USA not adhereing to UK data laws... thank you Ristin for that info.

sa6raya, glad i was of help. Everyone, please feel free to copy this letter and email it to all those this effects. here it is again... better displayed... Remember there is a time limit on this, so do it asap. ____________________ __________ (Your address here) FAO: The Practice Manager (Your Doctor’s address here) I have received the blue ‘junk-mail’ looking leaflet delivered via Royal Mail regarding the new Well Wirral Service, stating I need to opt out of the scheme. Please note that all persons listed below whom are resident at the above address wish to opt-out of both parts of the scheme; the health details and the personal name/address details. During a time when digital information security is so lax, even by official organisations, we would feel more secure knowing our data was limited to your establishment only. Please do not share any of our details, identifiable or otherwise, with any outside services unless specific permissions has been granted in writing by ourselves. Yours faithfully, (Your list of names here) ____________________ ___________ I never considered about the USA not adhereing to UK data laws... thank you Ristin for that info. whatdotheythinkweare
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Fri 25 Jul 08

Bertiebadger says...

My wife and I opted out today by hand delivering our letters. It is important to note that you have to tell them that you are opting out of BOTH. Thankfully the receptionist pointed this out to us and added both to the front of the envelope.
My wife and I opted out today by hand delivering our letters. It is important to note that you have to tell them that you are opting out of BOTH. Thankfully the receptionist pointed this out to us and added both to the front of the envelope. Bertiebadger
  • Score: 0

3:58pm Fri 25 Jul 08

aj1 says...

Letter from Dr Pete Naylor GP:

I am dismayed by the recent article in the Wirral Globe relating to the medical work of Health Dialog. I fully understand, in the days of “identity theft” and documents left by MPs on trains, we are all well aware of the need to be extremely cautious with personal records. I feel however, it would be disastrous if we ignore health information and do not utilise this to deploy services to people in need.



As a GP I take the storage and use of my patients’ medical records extremely seriously. I do however fully support “Wirral Keep Well”. This scheme combines hospital and general practitioner data and assesses those most at risk and those most needing various supportive measures. The scheme is most effective when large numbers of patients are involved. There is a second part to the work of Health Dialog: that of “Health Coaches”. Health Coaches will not be used by many patients but, in my opinion, offer a highly valuable support mechanism for those in need. They can offer telephone support with patients who are at difficult times with their health, as well as help direct clients to other support services they may be of use. An example would be to arrange contact with an elderly patient just discharged from hospital and who perhaps lives alone to see how they are progressing. (This may occur before a GP is even aware the discharge has happened!). Wirral PCT is not diving into something entirely new here. Patients in areas in the UK already utilising Health Coaches give excellent feedback.



I understand that virtually all GP’s on Wirral have signed up to this scheme and this has followed careful debate. I would hope that shows a large degree of support for the service from a medical perspective. It would be a shame if people were to miss out on these potential benefits if they were to be misguided from what appears to be inflammatory journalism.

Letter from Dr Pete Naylor GP: I am dismayed by the recent article in the Wirral Globe relating to the medical work of Health Dialog. I fully understand, in the days of “identity theft” and documents left by MPs on trains, we are all well aware of the need to be extremely cautious with personal records. I feel however, it would be disastrous if we ignore health information and do not utilise this to deploy services to people in need. As a GP I take the storage and use of my patients’ medical records extremely seriously. I do however fully support “Wirral Keep Well”. This scheme combines hospital and general practitioner data and assesses those most at risk and those most needing various supportive measures. The scheme is most effective when large numbers of patients are involved. There is a second part to the work of Health Dialog: that of “Health Coaches”. Health Coaches will not be used by many patients but, in my opinion, offer a highly valuable support mechanism for those in need. They can offer telephone support with patients who are at difficult times with their health, as well as help direct clients to other support services they may be of use. An example would be to arrange contact with an elderly patient just discharged from hospital and who perhaps lives alone to see how they are progressing. (This may occur before a GP is even aware the discharge has happened!). Wirral PCT is not diving into something entirely new here. Patients in areas in the UK already utilising Health Coaches give excellent feedback. I understand that virtually all GP’s on Wirral have signed up to this scheme and this has followed careful debate. I would hope that shows a large degree of support for the service from a medical perspective. It would be a shame if people were to miss out on these potential benefits if they were to be misguided from what appears to be inflammatory journalism. aj1
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Fri 25 Jul 08

katrice says...

pete, in truth you need the numbers! thats why you opted in, the trials down south were limited, Answer me this pete, what happens when a coach gives the wrong information? whos to blame then? Ive had more than my fair share of problems with telephone support and health. My Own GP also raises concerns! how much has all this cost wirral pct and how many numbers do you need to make it viable? I noticed you seem to be targeting the old those that may not realise what the blue bit of paper is that came through the post, very underhanded to get everyone including the vulnerable automatically opted in.
not all GPs seem as enthusiastic as yourself
pete, in truth you need the numbers! thats why you opted in, the trials down south were limited, Answer me this pete, what happens when a coach gives the wrong information? whos to blame then? Ive had more than my fair share of problems with telephone support and health. My Own GP also raises concerns! how much has all this cost wirral pct and how many numbers do you need to make it viable? I noticed you seem to be targeting the old those that may not realise what the blue bit of paper is that came through the post, very underhanded to get everyone including the vulnerable automatically opted in. not all GPs seem as enthusiastic as yourself katrice
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Sun 27 Jul 08

garyuu says...

I direct my comments at Dr Pete Naylor GP
The problem for me is not that the service is no good. The problem is not that it will not be medically benefical - it may well be.
My issue is that Wirral PCT made no effort to seek an EU service provider for this service.
It may be that some tendering guidelines have been broken here - a purchasing expert would be better placed to say.
An EU company would have to stick to the EU data protection guidelines - these are a pretty close match to the UK data protections we have.
A US company (or US data processing centre) does not have these same data protection guidelines. US data protection is pretty loose compared to EU/UK data protection. I am generalising here but anyone interested in what a US company can do with your data should do a web search for 'US data protection' and have a good read.
I would like to make a couple of points Dr Naylor that you may like to consider:
1. As a Doctor with responsibility for 'protecting' patient data both on your own systems and when it is transferred centrally - you should really be clued up on data protection - if you were then you might not be so quick to recommend this to US data transfer to your patients.
2. Health dialog healthdialog.com although having offices in UK want to do the data processing in the US.
3. Wirral PCT needs to consider carefully ALL the options for this service rather than just the first saleperson prepared to come and sell the idea at a PCT meeting.
How many countries in the EU - are Wirral really saying that no other European companies offer this service?
On a personal note and this really is just how I feel about my data - if it was a Swedish company or a Polish company or somebody else who would adhere to EU data protection then I would have no problem in 'opting in' to a similar service as is being proposed be provided by Health Dialog healthdialog.com
Gary.
I direct my comments at Dr Pete Naylor GP The problem for me is not that the service is no good. The problem is not that it will not be medically benefical - it may well be. My issue is that Wirral PCT made no effort to seek an EU service provider for this service. It may be that some tendering guidelines have been broken here - a purchasing expert would be better placed to say. An EU company would have to stick to the EU data protection guidelines - these are a pretty close match to the UK data protections we have. A US company (or US data processing centre) does not have these same data protection guidelines. US data protection is pretty loose compared to EU/UK data protection. I am generalising here but anyone interested in what a US company can do with your data should do a web search for 'US data protection' and have a good read. I would like to make a couple of points Dr Naylor that you may like to consider: 1. As a Doctor with responsibility for 'protecting' patient data both on your own systems and when it is transferred centrally - you should really be clued up on data protection - if you were then you might not be so quick to recommend this to US data transfer to your patients. 2. Health dialog healthdialog.com although having offices in UK want to do the data processing in the US. 3. Wirral PCT needs to consider carefully ALL the options for this service rather than just the first saleperson prepared to come and sell the idea at a PCT meeting. How many countries in the EU - are Wirral really saying that no other European companies offer this service? On a personal note and this really is just how I feel about my data - if it was a Swedish company or a Polish company or somebody else who would adhere to EU data protection then I would have no problem in 'opting in' to a similar service as is being proposed be provided by Health Dialog healthdialog.com Gary. garyuu
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Sun 27 Jul 08

ghawkins says...

In reponse to Dr Pete Naylor, whilst I agree the scheme itself may have benefits, the question is really over why the Primary Care Trust have firstly selected an American company to handle the data (where the Data Protection Act does not apply) and secondly why have they made this an opt-out rather than opt-in system?
In reponse to Dr Pete Naylor, whilst I agree the scheme itself may have benefits, the question is really over why the Primary Care Trust have firstly selected an American company to handle the data (where the Data Protection Act does not apply) and secondly why have they made this an opt-out rather than opt-in system? ghawkins
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Mon 28 Jul 08

johnjones says...

GaryUU how do you know the service 'doesn't work' - it isn't up and running yet. Health Dialog is part of BUPA, a british non-profit company. The data is sent to CAMBRIDGE where it is analysedand sent back to the GP. The only data is a brief synopsis of what condition you have. Its a simple choice isn't it, use it or don't use it.

Why do people of Merseyside have such a hatred of anything new?
GaryUU how do you know the service 'doesn't work' - it isn't up and running yet. Health Dialog is part of BUPA, a british non-profit company. The data is sent to CAMBRIDGE where it is analysedand sent back to the GP. The only data is a brief synopsis of what condition you have. Its a simple choice isn't it, use it or don't use it. Why do people of Merseyside have such a hatred of anything new? johnjones
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Mon 28 Jul 08

garyuu says...

In response to john jones:
Here is the relevant extract from my posting
"...The problem for me is not that the service is no good. The problem is not that it will not be medically benefical - it may well be..."
I think you have misunderstood - if you reread it slowly you will perhaps see I did not mean to suggest the service was not good - and the bulk of the comments I make are in regard to data protection.

I am not arguing against the service itself. I am trying to raise awareness regarding patient health data being transferred outside the EU in order to support such a service.

Once your patient data has left the EU then it is 'in the wild'. Euro MEPs and british politicians have worked hard to guarntee the data protections which your health data currently benefits from.
If an individual resident chooses to waive those protections then that is a matter of personal choice but at least having read the discussions it may well be that choice is now better informed.

Just out of interest johnjohnes - you seem to know quite a bit more about the data processing locations than most residents of Wirral - do you have a personal interest you would like to declare?
From the front page of healthdialog.com
"Health Dialog UK Limited is a subsidiary of Health Dialog Services Corporation, Boston, USA" and a contact name given is Ms Shelton. I think this would be the same Ms Shelton who attended the 2007 Wirral PCT Executive meeting at which the service proposal was discussed.

By pointing out that BUPA is a non-profit company it appears you are in some way defensive of BUPA? If they are non-profit and just doing everything for the good of the health of UK patients then perhaps you can answer the following:
1. If BUPA are non-profit and only exist to serve patient health in the UK then they would happily merge with the NHS tomorrow - right? After all the NHS does not turn a profit and exists solely to service UK patients doesn't it?
2. If BUPA are solely concerned with the health of UK patients and refuse to take a profit then why would they buy Health Dialog Services Corporation of Boston, USA? . And whilst we are at it were does the money come from for such a company purchase?

My personal opinion is that an opt-out system to me smacks of 'we know best'. Do not be afraid to ask your GP in regard to any new service whether or not your data will be kept within the EU/UK - your GP has a responsibility for your health data and that includes informing you of genuine data protection concerns that may arise when a non-european company/parent company/subsiduary is involved.
In response to john jones: Here is the relevant extract from my posting "...The problem for me is not that the service is no good. The problem is not that it will not be medically benefical - it may well be..." I think you have misunderstood - if you reread it slowly you will perhaps see I did not mean to suggest the service was not good - and the bulk of the comments I make are in regard to data protection. I am not arguing against the service itself. I am trying to raise awareness regarding patient health data being transferred outside the EU in order to support such a service. Once your patient data has left the EU then it is 'in the wild'. Euro MEPs and british politicians have worked hard to guarntee the data protections which your health data currently benefits from. If an individual resident chooses to waive those protections then that is a matter of personal choice but at least having read the discussions it may well be that choice is now better informed. Just out of interest johnjohnes - you seem to know quite a bit more about the data processing locations than most residents of Wirral - do you have a personal interest you would like to declare? From the front page of healthdialog.com "Health Dialog UK Limited is a subsidiary of Health Dialog Services Corporation, Boston, USA" and a contact name given is Ms Shelton. I think this would be the same Ms Shelton who attended the 2007 Wirral PCT Executive meeting at which the service proposal was discussed. By pointing out that BUPA is a non-profit company it appears you are in some way defensive of BUPA? If they are non-profit and just doing everything for the good of the health of UK patients then perhaps you can answer the following: 1. If BUPA are non-profit and only exist to serve patient health in the UK then they would happily merge with the NHS tomorrow - right? After all the NHS does not turn a profit and exists solely to service UK patients doesn't it? 2. If BUPA are solely concerned with the health of UK patients and refuse to take a profit then why would they buy Health Dialog Services Corporation of Boston, USA? [now their subsidiary]. And whilst we are at it were does the money come from for such a company purchase? My personal opinion is that an opt-out system to me smacks of 'we know best'. Do not be afraid to ask your GP in regard to any new service whether or not your data will be kept within the EU/UK - your GP has a responsibility for your health data and that includes informing you of genuine data protection concerns that may arise when a non-european company/parent company/subsiduary is involved. garyuu
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Thu 31 Jul 08

sa6raya says...

Judging by responses from those who have read this article it's not a very popular move by Wirral PCT!

Dr Naylor attempts to justify its implementation but he fails to answer the questions raised.

To some people it may be about data protection but to others it's about choice or perhaps both (or without "patient" consultation). After all the NHS belongs to all of us.

I have learned that it has been trialled in Norfolk and Surrey but little can be found online (apart from: http://www.ehiprimar
ycare.com/comment_an
d_analysis/165/fewer
_flights
But I was particularly interested to read the mathematical modelling:

"South Norfolk PCT has identified patients at medium risk and offered them nurse-led telephone coaching in a bid to improve their self-management.

The tool – known as the combined predictive model – uses data from in-patient episodes, out-patients, A&E and general practice to predict which people in a population are most likely to need emergency admission to hospital the following year.

All PCTs are signed up to a Public Service Level Agreement to reduce emergency bed days by 5 per cent by 2008. The stumbling block so far has been how to identify patients before they become unwell. This is the gap the algorithm aims to fill."

Therefore, it may be that Wirral PCT wants to have fewer re-admissions to hospital.

Working in an academic environment questioning data is normal. A feasibility study is likely to have been presented to the PCT who have been persuaded that money can be saved for those who are chronically ill (for example those with asthma, diabetes and heart disease) by offering "health coaches." I am not adverse to this - a great idea - but why not a UK/EU owned company?

This now brings me to data being held. The info held may be of interest to the pharmaceutical companies ...or am I just becoming paranoid?

These companies are able to glean from these databases where the profits can be made. Health Diaglog aren't doing this for nothing! I rest my case.

Judging by responses from those who have read this article it's not a very popular move by Wirral PCT! Dr Naylor attempts to justify its implementation but he fails to answer the questions raised. To some people it may be about data protection but to others it's about choice or perhaps both (or without "patient" consultation). After all the NHS belongs to all of us. I have learned that it has been trialled in Norfolk and Surrey but little can be found online (apart from: http://www.ehiprimar ycare.com/comment_an d_analysis/165/fewer _flights But I was particularly interested to read the mathematical modelling: "South Norfolk PCT has identified patients at medium risk and offered them nurse-led telephone coaching in a bid to improve their self-management. The tool – known as the combined predictive model – uses data from in-patient episodes, out-patients, A&E and general practice to predict which people in a population are most likely to need emergency admission to hospital the following year. All PCTs are signed up to a Public Service Level Agreement to reduce emergency bed days by 5 per cent by 2008. The stumbling block so far has been how to identify patients before they become unwell. This is the gap the algorithm aims to fill." Therefore, it may be that Wirral PCT wants to have fewer re-admissions to hospital. Working in an academic environment questioning data is normal. A feasibility study is likely to have been presented to the PCT who have been persuaded that money can be saved for those who are chronically ill (for example those with asthma, diabetes and heart disease) by offering "health coaches." I am not adverse to this - a great idea - but why not a UK/EU owned company? This now brings me to data being held. The info held may be of interest to the pharmaceutical companies ...or am I just becoming paranoid? These companies are able to glean from these databases where the profits can be made. Health Diaglog aren't doing this for nothing! I rest my case. sa6raya
  • Score: 0
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