In the article “The Edentiti Difference ” we explain the underlying approach to the management of information across disparate databases. Edentiti espouses the view that it is not necessary to have centralised databases for many applications such as tax, health, or identification. Instead of building centralised repositories of information kept in other places we advocate an organisation based on permissions. Using this approach we can start immediately on building a health database system which will be privacy friendly, will satisfy the need to make all an individual’s health records available when needed and will be self funding.

The Paradigm for Ehealth

The CSIRO is working on a Federated system for building an Ehealth network of cooperating health databases. The intention is to establish a directory that enables health providers to access the network as and when required. The directory will be “owned” and controlled by the government.

The Edentiti approach works in the same way as the CSIRO system with one important difference. Instead of the directory being “owned” and controlled by the government the directory for each individual person is owned and controlled by the individual.

This simple change to the paradigm means that it is easy to overcome privacy issues – because the individual always gives permission to allow access – the data base will be more reliable because every individual will have an interest and will have control over the access rights and so will tend to check that the data is correct and is about them, and the cost will be lower because health providers can use the system to interact with individuals and so will be prepared to cover the cost of maintenance of the directory.

The advantages to health providers are:

Online Registration – Clients can register for appointments and order tests or goods through the system. Appointments can be scheduled and confirmed.

Storage of tests – many health providers conduct tests but do not want to take responsibility for the storage of the test results. They can pass the test results over to the individual in the knowledge that they can access the test results as needed.

Contact with Clients – Keeping contact details up to date is always an issue for health providers. The system will provide an up-to-date facility for contacting clients.

Payments – The system can be used to collect payments from clients

Advertising and Promotions – there can be optin advertising and promotional opportunities which are not available to government run systems which will help pay for the directory service.

Implementation

Implementation of the system can be organic and incremental. Health providers can join as they see fit and there will be minor changes to their systems in order to participate in the scheme. As there is a positive benefit to health providers in moving to the system they will tend to move their records quickly. The system will also operate at all levels of the health care system and it can be integrated with other services such as alternative medicines, health and sporting facilities, and other areas of information that are important to a person’s health.

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