USA: Patient Data Warning You Should Read

Posted on March 6, 2012

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Everyone is aware of identity theft these days. But did you know that one of the simplest ways for theves to get your private identifying information is through your health providers? The US government is pushing the use of electronic patient data systems. However,  they are filled with problems – technology incompatability, contant need to upgrade, cost, etc. One of the major downsides for patients is that the data contained in these electronic files is not secure. Security costs extra. For those hospitals and private practices that have implemented electronic records, protecting patient records seems an expensive and unnecessary bauble. The result? You may enjoy doctor/patient confidentiality in the exam room, but all the personal information you provided on the forms you filled out before being seen is exposed to the world. At least one report of patient data breaches crosses my desk every week. Joseph Conn of Modern Healthcare writes about the data-breach crisis today, citing a new national report that calls the exposure of private patient information an epidemic, be it accidental or intentional. Patient harm takes on many forms. The loss of your personal information to thieves is another hazard you should be aware of.

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