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Education not Fear is Needed with Medical Health Records

Posted Dec 08 2008 8:53pm

I read this article and it really made little or no sense.  Audit trails, all healthcare programs pretty much have these and years ago when I was writing my EMR program for a medical office, it had audit trails, so some of the comments here are a bit strange to say the least.  What do we do, stop and all go back to paper, I think not.  More risks than paper, well what do we want, better information and health care, I think so, besides I do more stories on paper medical records these days than I do data, last one with someone trying to burn the paper in a chimney and the plan went bad and they all arrested.  Shoot even my PHRs have audit tables to help me remember too.

What we do need though is to educate the public on security and not just boo hoo technology and run the fear of “God” with the public.   Education on how electronic records and personal health records is needed badly, as well as software that is secure.  Reminds me of a story of the DOD last week that got a virus, but they still allowed USB drives to be connected, so perhaps the information is better secured on a server.  You can use your USB device at home or get special permission through group policy to possibly be one allowed if it is really necessary. image

Once a medical records is created, you have no control as you are not sitting at a computer making those decisions, something we all need to learn to live with.  You do have control though with a Personal Health Record on what get’s shared from what is in your file, but outside of that area, you have no control.  It is good to read up and see who’s doing what in security though, but it may be a boring subject that most may not want to read about, but it’s all there for the reading on the web.

The missing piece here though is where does your information go and how it can be used against you with insurance claims and applications, that is a big worry as the insurance business is pretty top notch on all their business intelligence software and algorithms and can run some pretty quick dirty analysis for reports, again based on some very complicated algorithms.  This is truly where the privacy concerns should be and not that a big breach somewhere is going to divulge all your information to the EMR Burglar.   Identity theft is a big thing too, but can be corrected and data is getting smarter too in that area to be able to query and recognize and set up an exception report on things that just don’t jive based on other information already on file.

If online records still worry you, then you can always go get a chip, but then you need a chip reader too, and what’s to say that USB drive you carry your records on is free of viruses and is encrypted…something to think about, your doctor might want to know before he takes any chances on plugging it in to his network at the office too.  BD 

Because of the primitive state of health technology, there are a lot of risks with electronic records, frankly far more than paper," said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas. Peel, who recently spoke at a health-policy conference in Columbus, said most people don't know about all of the nonmedical staff people who have access to their electronic health information.

For example, a blood sample is sent to a lab and the results are sent back to your doctor and possibly a specialist for review. Hayes said most people wouldn't want to slow the process by getting permission at every stage.

"The challenge in health care and the patient is that you want a certain amount of people to see your data," he said. "I think most people want their data shared for treatment purposes.

The Columbus Dispatch : Are your medical records secure?

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