Paternalism in medicine and health has existed from the beginning of time.
From Latin terminology unintelligible to consumers, words that differentiate between what patients tell us (we call those “symptoms”) to what clinicians find upon examination and observation (we call these “signs”), to calling consumers “patience” as they wait (im)patiently to be seen in clinics.
In fact, this paternalistic approach, has expanded beyond the clinic and the hospital, and has pervaded all elements of the health system, from clinical results that aren’t released first to the consumers, to closed medical record systems created for enterprise and clinicians (where consumers are just bystanders or afterthoughts), to national record systems with only limited data available for the consumer to review, and to databases containing our personal data – vulnerable to hacking.
There is no other industry that has created as many excuses for marginalising the consumer in this way.
There is however, another approach.
- There is a way to help governments and other enterprises be liberated from the liability that data is becoming.
- There is a way to take the latest in secure data technology and cryptography and apply it to health.
- There is a way to ensure that we consumers are empowered with our own records and decide who we share our data with.
- There is a way to ensure that corporations who are building avatars and knowledge about us – do so only with our permission.
- There is a way to ensure that companies and individuals looking to advance and support our health, can profit appropriately from delivering us better health outcomes.
- And, there is a way to orient health more toward the consumer in balance with the other important players in our health system.