Time for another DMZ post. This one has to do with what you divulge about your health online. A conference here in San Diego touched on people who blog or comment on social networks about their illnesses. These web sites are not protected by health privacy laws, so the information can be used elsewhere – such as against you in court.
That’s what happened to one woman who sued her insurance company to pay for medical expenses related to an eating disorder. The insurer used her MySpace and Facebook postings to prove her illness was psychological, not medical, and therefore her treatment not reimbursable under her policy. Apparently even searches for specific illnesses can become a legal tool to show someone was aware of a preexisting condition (and I’ve discussed before that everything you’ve ever typed into a Google search engine is stored out there, just waiting for some subpoena).
The article mentions several new sites coming online to privately store health information, and the software makers swear by their encryption to keep data safe. However, this isolated approach diminishes the beneficial connections that come from talking to other sufferers coping with a similar disease or disorder. So, sadly, be careful what you write – and to whom – about serious health issues. You never know where your words might end up.