Mangan’s: Be careful what you tell a doctor

He is writing from the US, and is concerned about the drive to place all medical records in computerized form. This initiative is also going on in Canada (my doctor said it was being rolled out it in stages in B.C., and he was among the first of the groups, apparently chosen at random).

His comments and the readers’ responses are interesting. Excerpt:

Personally I would now be very reluctant to tell a doctor if I had a problem with drugs of abuse, if I were depressed or had some other mental health issue, and I wouldn’t even want to tell him that I might have a couple drinks in the evening. He will put that in writing. Think about that. Suppose he asks you whether you smoke marijuana, or hey, even tobacco. If you answer yes, there is now a permanent record of your answer, and you are branded an evil weed user for life, whether you give marijuana or tobacco as your answer.

Apparently, in the US, anyway, certain government jobs require the applicant to give the government permission to access these records.