The Downside of Electronic Medical Records

The new stimulus package has added privacy protections, but will they go far enough? This is Veronica Salazar, writing in USA Today:

Electronic medical records are as vulnerable to invasion as credit card data, and thousands have occurred. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit group that tracks breaches, these include the theft of an unencrypted laptop from a Manhattan veterans hospital in 2006 – exposing 1,600 patient records – and the breach of 187,000 patient records in San Jose, Calif., when a clinic manager stole computer equipment.

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  1. Bruce says:

    One more reason to be cautious.

  2. Tom H. says:

    When records are kept manually there is usually very weak security. Almost anyone could sneak into a doctor’s office and rummage through the files. But (maybe because the search would be so time consuming) that rarely ever happens.

    With electronic medical records, there is far more security. But once the fire wall is breeched, searching can be very quick and efficient. That’s what makes the electronic format potentially dangerous.