Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Why was the doctor so angry? (Sept. 15)

You are quite right in your column about the difference between patients and consumers.

In my view, medicine in Ontario has been

so fragmented that patients have been forced to become consumers.

For the first 25 years of my life the GP who delivered me cared for me. If he felt he was out of his depth he made a referral but supervised the treatment and interpreted the results and acted as an advocate for my best interests.

Now to get any sort of care I wind up going to a walk-in clinic that refuses to treat anything requiring follow-up care and have to personally research any ailment I may have to cope with. I have to demand a referral and have the name of a doctor to be referred to at hand. It is a sad state of affairs.

In cottage country the sides of the roads are littered with signs saying “”Doctors Wanted, Practice where you play”” because the municipalities cannot get physicians to fill brand new hospitals. They do not want to come outside the major cities because of the lack of respite and the distance to a referral.

I am tired of it. I wonder how the less astute and less educated cope at all.

Mark Bernier

Re: Why was the doctor so angry? (Sept. 15)

Your article was a little superficial. (I know, word limit. . . .) If you are continuing research in this area, I have done research and written reports on patients’ use of the Internet that you may find useful. My focus was on people suffering from chronic migraines, but my conclusions generalize well to most chronic conditions.

In general I found that many people were using the Internet to research their illness and explore treatment options. As their knowledge of their condition increased, they realized the limits of their doctors’ knowledge and began to lose faith in them. Interestingly, many people began to place more faith in anonymous Web postings than in their own doctor!

I would recommend that you follow up this article. There continues to be a great deal that needs to be learned by doctors, consumers and IT professionals about the appropriate use of IT in the health services field.

Dave Crawford

Re: BMO scours runaway servers for possible data leaks (Sept. 15)

Thank you for reporting the Bank of Montreal privacy breach incident. Articles like yours will (hopefully) encourage readers to realize that the mystical veil of technology is easily pierced, that they must accept the responsibility for their own information and that executives cannot continue to be shielded by pushing their corporate governance responsibilities down the corporate ladder or across to outsourced providers.

The privacy breach — and attendant public embarrassment — that BMO is now responding to is actually quite commonplace. As a privacy and information security specialist I am aware that management in private and government organizations have come to rely on technology — and a precious few technologists — to safeguard the data entrusted to them. When incidents like this one occur, corporate governance, credibility and investor confidence suffer — and that, in turn, negatively affects revenues and profits.

One strategy that many organizations take in an effort to avoid risk is, as BMO spokesman Ian Blair said in the article, to “”only go to the reputable, high-end”” outsourcers.

Like the ISM/Cooperators incident earlier this year — in which people in reputable organizations caused significant disruption, losses and embarrassment — this incident is a reminder that contracts and technology sometimes aren’t enough to protect data from the effects of human intervention. These incidents had nothing to do with technological failures. They had everything to do with failing to identify or address the potential risk that the people involved in the processes pose to the organization and to private data.

And now BMO, ISM and other organizations that suffer(ed) similar breaches can personify Oscar Wilde’s perspective and call their mistakes “”experience.””

Please continue to report on incidents like this most recent high-profile Canadian gaffe. There is now only 73 business days left until Canada’s Federal Privacy legislation — PIPEDA — comes into force for private organizations across Canada. Perhaps articles such as this one will prompt some people into action to address the people side of the privacy equation — or they won’t stand a chance of being ready to comply with PIPEDA or any provincial privacy legislation that comes into effect.

Sharon Polsky
Project Scope Solutions Group

Re: BMO scours runaway servers for possible data leaks (Sept. 15)

For some reason I find it hard to understand how anything coming out of a bank was not formatted to start with, since this would be the first thing I would do to make sure there are no unwanted files on the hard drive.

I would also run a virus checker to make sure someone does not end up with a virus. This would make the business look good in the end anyway and generate more sales through satisfied customers.

Many years ago this happened with information found in boxes left out for garbage pick-up. While some of it was very old it still had information on bank accounts and owners’ personal information.

The fact remains though that these computer systems were sent out without formatting the drives which should be the first thing done before they go out the door!

Larry Miller

Re: Where’s the money in WiFi? (Sept. 9)

This whole concept will take off when my laptop will be able to access the Internet wirelessly from anywhere — on somewhat the same model as my cell phone.

Note to the providers — don’t call me until this is what you have to offer.

John Stoll
IT coordinator
Associated Tube Industries

Re: Cisco Canada to get a new president: source (Sept. 4)

I’m not sure why the article came out yesterday announcing Terry Walsh as the president of Cisco Canada. He’s been in that role for quite some time. Your article suggests I broke the news and in fact makes me look just a little silly, given that many of my industry friends and I have met with Terry numerous times over the last month or more in his capacity as president.

Rick Reid
Tech Data Canada Corp.

Editor’s note: Walsh assumed the role of Cisco Systems Canada president in July, but there was no official announcement to the media until Sept. 8.

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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