No, Not All Of Your Health Information Has to Be Shared

It may be taking a while, but our philosophy concerning privacy of our Healthcare data is shifting toward public sharing. There are many reasons why this change is important and welcome: it can foster networking and support; provide useful information for researchers; and tear down the silos that have long defined Healthcare.

Our brains are wired for lock-in: once we accept one way of doing or thinking, we tend to stick with it – defend it, even when it’s clear we need a re-fresh. That’s where we are today with respect to Healthcare privacy. Not everybody’s on-board with going public, but there’s definitely a trend for public (or publics) sharing.

But here’s one point that shouldn’t get lost: once society makes the shift toward public sharing of health information: it doesn’t mean all of it must be. In fact, some things do need to be private.

In a world of Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare and mobile pictures and video and whatever else will come along to steal away any semblance of privacy, we shall have to fight hard to protect what we value.

There are moments of pain and suffering in our lives that simply need the bathing and healing powers of silence and privacy.

Privacy is like our integumentary system: it’s an ingenious semi-permeable membrane which balances the need for oxygen with the need for protection.

Strip away our integumentary system and we die – either by shock or infection. Simple as that.

So as we hear more loudly the Open Philosophies of needed innovators like Jamie Haywood, we’ll also need to rescue privacy from the storm of adoption.

Revolutions are never free of side-effects…nor adverse events.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


Touch or Tweet?

Before digital – before tools – was the digit. The original digit. The finger.

The fingers could touch, could point, could gesture, could fashion – the tip of one could even make love. Wonders of bone and fascia. These fingers, these first digits, made the first tools, the first paintings, the first languages, the first civilizations.

And now, the ultimate bringing-forth of our fingers, the binary grip of the digital age – the all-or-nothing fascism of zero and one – is poised to render its ancestors into feeble vestiges of natural selection.

The tweet is now metaphor for the rapidity of technological selection and point-to-point connection. The tweet seeks to replace the touch.

Healthcare is now poised to seek out new ways of patient care via digital technologies.

But as it does, what happens to touch – which is more than just skin-to-skin, but eye-to-eye, mouth-to-ear, heart-to-heart?

What happens when we decide to tweet more and more, and touch less and less?

To touch or to tweet? There’s a question.

For we are entering an undiscovered country: if we lose ourselves in tweets and lose touch of each other, how shall we grasp what matters most to us all, the other human digit: our dignity?