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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Adam Bosworth, bigwig at Google, is interested in tackling health URLs. As soon as I saw that term, my mind exploded with possibilities. Imagine no more charts that must be transferred between family physicians, full medical histories available to emergency personnel, and the ability to know whether doctors have ever considered you "difficult."

But then I remembered that the health care industry is one of the most regulated segments of our society. For a moment, I was under the misapprehension that it would just take an agreement between me, my HMO (possibly), Google, and my doctors. But that's not possible in today's political environment: you know that every branch of government would want to make sure that it followed onerous regulations, complied with their whims, and required paperwork that utterly defeated its purpose.

All that would be done in the name of protecting the patient's privacy. Never mind that the patient could protect his own privacy, thank you very much. The nanny statists know that consumers just aren't as sophisticated as they are and that those who would provide such record retention would jump at the chance of selling it to anyone who expressed an interest.

But I don't believe that. I believe that I should make my own decisions and the idea of having my entire medical history available on the Web, no matter what health care insurance I have or who my doctor is, excites me. If Google does an adequate implementation and limits access to those whom I specify, then I don't see anything untoward happening.

And if they restrict access by the government by requiring a subpoena, all the better.