President Obama wants to put your medical records in a nationwide computerized database. And he allotted $19 billion of his $789 billion stimulus plan to do it. Some say it raises security concerns.
The President says a national e-records database will make the entire health system more efficient, less costly, and better suited to patients' needs.
As someone with extensive health problems, Tamara Kahler carries a hard copy of her medical records with her on every vacation. But last week in San Antonio, she forgot them. "I had to go to urgent care and it would have been great if the doctor there could have pulled up my medical information right then."
If this were 2014, the doctor in San Antonio would have been able to.
The President is mandating every American's medical records be in the system by then. "It's going to be a huge undertaking."
Eric Palmer says going paper to computers raises some serious security concerns. "They would have to have very rigorous security measures to prevent those from getting into the hands of somebody that shouldn't have it."
Obama says access to the database will be highly monitored and part of the $19-billion will go towards maintaining patient privacy.
Dr. Biggs' office has been using electronic records for two years now, and he says maintaining that privacy is vital. "We still need to preserve a situation where patients can freely tell the doctor everything they need to tell them in order to get medical care."
Despite the security measures and the convenience of having other doctors being able to treat her quickly, Kahler says at the end of the day, the database is just a computer, and one hackers could get into. "My personal business, my family business, and I really don't want that available to the general public, only to my personal doctor."