Biometrics pushed for medical records uses

Anyone interested in the future of electronic databasing of prescription medications, or of electronic medical records, should become familiar with one word that likely will be key to such matters in the near future:  biometrics.

Already, the federal government is funding the move toward electronic databasing of medical information; the stimulus bill earlier this year, for example, included monies for such measures.  At the same time  (and as noted here in the “Barr Code” on March 22, 2010), the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is pressuring states to require that anyone obtaining a prescription for any medication on the government’s list of “Controlled Substances,” register such activity in an electronic prescription drug database.  Georgia, for example, is close to succumbing to such pressure and legislatively mandating such a privacy-invasive registry.

Now, in a just-published proposed rule in the Federal Register, DEA is proposing that a physician wishing to electronically prescribe any controlled substance (”e-prescription”) — something the government does not now permit — may do so using a biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint or an iris scan, as one of at least two methods of verifying the identify of the prescriber.  If this rule becomes an enforceable federal regulation, it will open to door to much more extensive use by the government and the private sector of biometric identifiers.

Even now, some private clinics, such as one in the Bronx, New York according to published reports, are requiring patients to submit to biometric verification in order to receive healthcare.  Such actions are consistent with the national drive to establish and use electronic databasing for virtually all medical records — for the sake of “efficiency,” of course.  Clearly, however, databasing of personal and intimately private information as medical and prescription drug records, facilitates government tracking of such data.  Use of electronic methods to store individual medical data also carries with it the potential for vast misuse and compromising of information on a scale not previously realized.

Still, with federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies (of which the DEA is both) becoming the tail wagging the medical and pharmaceutical dogs, clearly the trend is toward greater and greater use of electronic databases and including required biometric identifiers.

6 comments Add your comment

No More Progressives!

April 14th, 2010
6:42 am

As long as they’re voluntary, a big yes.

If Big Brother mandates them, a big no.

David S

April 14th, 2010
11:17 am

All these DEA proposals are just more failed policy resulting from the failed War on Drugs. Thousands of people today suffer needlessly because the DEA pressures doctors not to prescribe pain medications for people in real pain. If someone is dying of terminal cancer, it should be nobody’s concern that they might become addicted prior to their death. The DEA is the worst kind of government agency. They murder and torture with their policies all in the name of power and control of citizens.

The DEA and the FDA should both be dissolved in favor of freedom and liberty for both doctors and patients.

william mcniff

April 14th, 2010
1:05 pm

I’m not sure that expanding beauracracy, even efficiently using electronics, adds anything to healthcare. It may help track waste and fraud but if we abandoned health insurance there would be no waste or fraud and healthcare would be cheaper and of a better quality.


April 14th, 2010
3:22 pm

With the new Healthcare reform act that we shoved down the throsts of the American people, we will institute the monitoring of heathcare proceedures and medicines to ensure that only those who need it most have access to medical care. We also plan to install microchips in each citizen so that we can fully track and monitor every aspect of your life. This is change you can believe in. Love, Barack


April 15th, 2010
3:25 pm

here’s a novel idea for all Americans, opt out of healthcare all together. I haven’t consumed a prescription med in over almost 10 years, and I can’t remember when I did before 2001. it’s not biometrics or the encroachment into our lives that should scare Americans so much as it is the reality that we have become a nation of pill-gobblers. look at anti-depressants; some studies suggest they do more harm than good. I suppose their are some instances where they’re the last line of defense, but we’re too quick to nod “yes” when some guy in white coat (who is usually on the Big Pharm payroll) tells us a pill can make the blues go away. we’re being treated like cattle and nobody seems to care.


April 15th, 2010
4:45 pm

Over the past 15 years I noticed a significant increase of the construction of stand alone DRUG STORES throughout the nation and in some cases four of these stores are situated at major intersections. I assume that the pharmaceutical industry, retail outlets and the DEA was gearing up for this major invasion of Citizen Privacy. I urge you to run against sen. Empty Suit Johnny.