The Netherlands is currently in the process of establishing an Electronic Patient Dossier (EPD). This “facilitates the rapid and reliable exchange of medical information” (my translation). Medical personell, including doctors, farmacies, etc. then can easily access your private health record. Isn’t that great and convenient?
Well, perhaps some weird people might be too old-fashioned for all this electronic goodyness. To appease these few strange individuals, there is an opt-out procedure.
In other news: the Netherlands suffers from a lack of donors. A bit of googling will lead to wildly varying results, but the trend seems to be that there is a quite substantial group of Dutch citizens willing to act as donors, but who didn’t opt-in for this. Last time the donor registration system was evaluated, the call for an opt-out process went unheeded.
I realise that opt-out organ donation is a tricky ethical question – the system will mark people as donors who are not willing to act as such. Apparently, this was deemed so severe, that the untapped potential of Dutch donors remains that. So that seems to indicate a choice for liberty, even at the cost of lives potentially saved.
And then the EPD wanders in. The government chooses an opt-out procedure, claiming that the EPD will save lives. At the cost of wide-spread sharing of private information. But, you know, you can opt-out.
So, we’re unwilling to address a very real and existing problem (lack of donor organs) using opt-out, even though there is a sizeable untapped potential out there. And on this new gizmo we slap the label “saves lives” and that is more than sufficient justification to have an opt-in system?
Is it just me or is the Dutch government being inconsistent here (to say the very least)?
[Edit: Here's a link of the Dutch government on why not to have opt-in donor registration. My view: this blows.]
[Edit2: I cannot find how to declare myself a donor in a fashion recognised throughout Europe. That blows too. Just so at least more people know: me = donor.]
[Edit3: On being a donor in Europe: got a response from the donor-register in NL (though not one from Postbus 51, although they did promise to do so in 5 days...). Basically: wear a donor-card, e.g. this one from America (easiest find... NL doesn't have them anymore...:() I'm hoping English is understood well enough throughout the EU, although you never know for sure...]