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09 Feb 2019
Ministry of Health
Feedback View - 179
Rethink idea of centralised health record system

I agree with senior health correspondent Salma Khalik that human nature is such that data breaches will happen again (MOH must learn from breaches to build more robust, secure system; Feb 1).

We also cannot expect there to be no errant doctors or medical professionals who try to misuse data or access the system for personal motives.

It may, therefore, be worth rethinking the proposal that requires all healthcare institutions to input the data of their patients electronically so that it can be part of the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system, given the spate of incidents involving breach or misuse of data.

There has to be a more secure system that achieves the same objectives without having to amass the data on a common platform.

For example, we can explore the idea of having medical data travel with the patient, by making it mandatory for people to carry a medical record card containing their data in a chip.

This card will be presented to the doctor when the patient receives treatment, and will be updated accordingly.

I can understand the rationale for setting up a centralised system - to give doctors a complete picture of a patient's medical condition, and it could save lives in emergency situations.

But we have lived without such a system for so long, and it is hard to see how the benefits of the NEHR outweigh the risks of the system being hacked or misused.

Is it possible to achieve the same goals in a safer manner?

Susan Tan (Ms)


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