Is your medical information safe?{1}

by Stephen O
Your local doctor’s office has decided to go paper less: huzzah! That is great for you as a patient your information can easily be uploaded to any emergency room in an instant if it needs to be, or in case you need to find a new doctor should you move. For all the benefits of having digital records of your health, there are always drawbacks. Next week, you get a call from your doctor’s office. Their database was hacked and your information was compromised. Soon you are getting calls from telemarketers, tons of spam email, and now you are worried about that credit card they had on record.

Could this happen? Yes! The healthcare industry is behind all the other industries when it comes to protection. They lag behind even at simple encryption! Some places do not even encrypt their patent’s data. “Security within healthcare lags a lot behind other industries,” he says. “I’m not only talking about lack of encryption, but basically having no security tools whatsoever, not monitoring networks, not monitoring the databases, and so on. Plus many of their systems are very old and hard to change, and they’re interconnected so everyone is afraid of touching them.” (Chickowski, 2011)


I am all for digital health records, it’s a life saver literally sometimes. It saves paper, space, and its easily accessed by other doctors on the fly. Say you on vacation in New York and get sick, very sick in moments the doctors in New York have your complete medical history. In some dire situation, they know what you’re allergic to, perhaps you have one kidney, or any number of unique health issues, the doctors can administer life saving medicine without harming you.

At the same time a good number of these systems are not protected the way they should be. And there seems to be no overall reason why. Could it be old equipment? Could it be lack of knowledge? It could be any number of things. To move forward though, the healthcare industry professionals need to learn the why, what, how’s to protect their patients.

Chickowski, E. (2011, November 11). Encryption And Other Database Security Lags At Healthcare Organizations. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from dark READING: