The daily’s Business section reports that Arizona’s senior citizens have been slow to enroll in a federal program that encourages them to store their personal medical histories on Google or other commercial Web sites.
They may be older, but we bet few of them are stupid.
Medicare and participating software vendors acknowledge that a small percentage of Arizona’s 800,000 Medicare recipients, less than the estimated 3 percent to 6 percent of consumers nationwide, have signed up for the $2.5 million health-records program introduced in January. Discussion now centers on whether the one-year experiment should continue next year.
The selling point of advocates has been that digitalizing health records makes information more readily available to physicians, potentially alerting them to adverse drug interactions. The records can also remind patients about their own allergies, track past treatments and tests. Somehow people have been able to do this throughout their lifetimes while maintaining their privacy. The trade-off obviously doesn’t have wide appeal.
And tucked into the article is the fact that few doctors use the computerized systems. A New England Journal of Medicine study in 2008 found that just 4 percent of U.S. doctors have a comprehensive digital records system and 13 percent have a basic system.
Arizona‘s seniors are a testament to the adage that age brings wisdom.