In the editorial, "Patient Privacy and Confidentiality --- Time to Draw the Line" (Medical Sentinel, Nov/Dec 1998), Dr. Faria discusses the severe problems that occur when patients lose their privacy. At the end, he warns of the consequences, "unless all citizens stand up and say no." Certainly, AAPS members wish that citizens would do this but under the current system, I doubt that they will. The reason is that we are under the control of central planners and central planners need data to do their planning. It is the gathering of this data that leads to our loss of privacy.
Central planners or top down planning does not happen with individually-based health care. With this, there is little need for central planners to gather the data that invades our privacy. Therefore the key to health care privacy is to change from a government-based (Medicare) and employer-based system to an individually-based health care delivery system.
Bert A. Loftman, MD
Correspondence originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(2);41-43. Copyright©1999 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).