Friday, September 5, 2008

What's in *your* MIB?

As regular readers know, the "e" in e-patient stands for "empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled." Usually we're talking about "power" in the sense of who has a say in a medical episode, but there's more to it than that: who owns your information, and who's responsible for keeping it accurate?

This is a story of a woman who's experiencing real harm from a doctor's condition coding error in her MIB record (Medical Information Bureau) and says her attempts to get it fixed were unsuccessful, leaving her in real financial trouble and completely powerless.

In the past I might have politely sat by and said "Gosh, that's bad news." But as an e-patient (empowered), I say "Hey, that's not right - that doesn't make any sense - can't we change this??"

I know the MIB exists to keep insurers from harm (fraud), but patients are vulnerable to harm, too. (Listen up; patient = YOU.) Looking into the story, I requested my own MIB record (like requesting your credit report) and was quite surprised at how one-sided the power is, in that world.

The full story, with short video, is over on the e-patient blog, where I also write.

Given the opacity of the system, I shudder to think about my chances of correcting any error.

See what happened after I spoke with them: part two of this series.

For more about the e-patient movement, see E-Patient? Yes, e-Patient.
For why I blog, with links to my excellent cancer story, see Why I Blog.

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