It’s feels cooler to visit your doctor’s office and use a tablet to register as many doctors associated with Northside Hospital are doing; the bad news… the “I Accept These Terms” button contains loads of previously undisclosed terms including that Northside affiliates have the right to use your medical information for fundraising. Seriously… for FUNDRAISING! Bet most of you had no idea they were agreeing to that!
Think about the ramifications... you have some medical issue that you think is private… maybe some form of cancer… then you get the call “Hi Mr/Ms X, we are seeking funding for a breakthrough proprietary medicine”. How betrayed would you feel? Would you begin to loathe getting your mail or email? Or answering your phone?
Last week I had my first appointment to see Dr. Scott Leibowitz with Laureate Medical Group (multiple offices throughout Atlanta) on the Northside Hospital campus, previously I had seen Dr. Leibowitz when he was associated with Piedmont.
Laureate Medical Group uses patient manipulated tablet computers for registration. As I was using the tablet to complete registration there were two screens for "accept these terms" and I blithely accepted the 1st, but when I got to the 2nd screen I decided to quickly scroll through the lengthy terms. Those terms actually said you must accept that your medical information and contact information may be used for fundraising, not only for this practice but specifically for Northside Hospital and any "affiliates". When I said I would not accept that, the receptionist (after a phone call confirmation to someone) I was told I couldn't see the doctor without accepting what she called the “Northside HIPAA” terms.I left their offices without being allowed to see the doctor.
The next day I spoke with Tina Gordon, Office Manager for Laureate Medical Group, who informed me that they have been associated with Northside for two years and that they are simply part of the lengthy requirements from Northside Hospital.
THIS IS THE MOST UNETHICAL THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A DOCTOR'S OFFICE OR FROM ANY MEDICAL PRACTICE. No medical care without accepting that your medical information may be used for fundraising! Not merely by the Doctor or the practice but also for Northside Hospital and any affiliates… how broad ranging that can be!
There are probably thousands of patients that have simply “accepted these terms” (as most people do) but these demands fly in the face of HIPAA and are highly unprofessional, and most highly unethical. Even worse… no copy of these terms are provided to the patient!
When people use computers to fill out information we are all accustomed to never look at the lengthy terms you are accepting, we all do it regularly, but when the people you must trust with your health abuse those long terms it is time to shout. It is clearly in my view a breach of medical trust.
If you have been associated with Northside Hospital or any Doctors associated with the Hospital, then you might want to contact them to get a copy of what you have agreed to.
Hippocratic Oath - no! Hypocritic Oath!