MedicalDirector rejects claims that doctors are “required” to share data

Clinical and practice management software vendor MedicalDirector has rejected a claim in a News Corp newspaper that it now requires users to share their patients' health data with the company as part of a software upgrade.

It has also denied there is a technical issue with its most recent upgrade that led one GP to believe all clinical and practice staff were automatically enrolled by default in its new MD Heart research tool.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: MedicalDirector

Comments  

+1 # Thinus van Rensburg 2018-04-25 15:48
In order to investigate this matter I resolved to spend my ANZAC day doing a fresh install on an old PC and see if I could reproduce what I claimed on Twitter.

I could not and must publicly eat humble pie - after installation each user gets a prompt asking if they wish to participate in the new MD HEART tool.
This was followed by a very helpful call from someone within the MD development team and I greatly appreciated his input in making sense of some of these issues.

Our our upgrade a few months ago to 3.17.2 was problematic and failed five times. During these very stressful times a senior MD tech logged in remotely and managed to get the install working. I was asked to test it on the server and did the unforgiveable - I just clicked on all the prompts to get them out of the way without even reading them - thus my incorrect claim that there was no prompt at all.

More concerning is that everyone in my Clinic did the same - despite a very clear directive from the Boss/ITtech/Chi ef bottle washer & cook that no-one accepted an upgrade prompt or similar without clearing it with me first. They all just clicked all prompts until they were gone !
I do fear that this will be the case in most clinics though - I made enquiries about this issue a few days ago on several of the large social media groups where thousands of GPs hang out and have had a total of one other person expressing an awareness of the existence of this issue

Two other issues arose in the Twitter discussions:
a. How does MD deal with the complexity of large databasis shared by a mix of GPs, some of whom have opted in and others not?
I was informed that they would initially only access data from patients who has ONLY accessed consenting GPs. From there on they would only access entries made by consenting GPs in the files of patients where multiple GPs have seen the patients.
It has reportedly been tested thoroughly but it sounds very complex and fraud with danger

b. Why does all users, clinical and admin, get a prompt to join and seemingly contribute once they accept ?
This is reportedly a side effect of the design of the current interface but actually only consenting GPs contribute de-identified data while consenting admin staff contributes nothing.

Lastly I did ask about the term "carefully selected third parties" being used in the EULA in regards to datasharing - I was re-assured this only applies to future arrangements and that Clinicians will be advised well in advance about which third parties are involved. I just hope they take more note of this than they do of the enrollment prompts.

Finally I should point out that I have not had anything to do with the claims made by the Courier Mail's journalist and have not in fact even read that article.
+1 # Kate McDonald 2018-04-25 16:32
I don't think any software company could have a better customer than you, sir. You certainly put their products through their paces.
# Mark Santamaria 2018-04-26 08:45
An interesting and concerning concept of a software vendor collecting and storing patient related health information for uncertain secondary use and potentially financial gain.
If my GP shared my health information without my consent, with an organisation that does not have proper research credentials / practices, and whose intent is unclear, then I would be duly concerned.
Hopefully the patients in practices that do share patient's health information are being properly consented though it would be difficult to ask patients to consent to something that is so unclear in both purpose and methodology.

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